Councilman Weiner schedules July 8 community meeting to review a developer's proposal for the Forward parcel on Silverside road
County Councilman Bob Weiner, who represents the area and would have to sponsor the rezoning, has scheduled a July 8 community meeting to review a developer's proposal for the Forward parcel on Silverside road. Weiner said he is waiting to see the development plan and seek community input, before determining his position on the proposal. A zoning change from the New Castle County Council will be required. A public meeting to present the plans is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. July 8 at the Brandywine Hundred Library, 1300 Foulk Road.
Developer wants to raze 1799 schoolhouse
Xerxes WIlson, The News Journal 1:15 p.m. EDT June 19, 2015
A deserted and damaged 1799 school building in Brandywine Hundred would be torn down under a redevelopment plan New Castle County officials are expected to consider next month.
Developer Joe Setting, of Montchanin-based Setting Properties Inc., wants to raze the former Forwood School near Silverside and Marsh roads to make way for Branmar Commons, a 35-townhouse and commercial project. Plans for the 12-acre site call for three-story townhomes and five buildings with 30,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, bank coffee shop and a pharmacy.
A zoning change from the New Castle County Council will be required. A public meeting to present the plans is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. July 8 at the Brandywine Hundred Library, 1300 Foulk Road.
No construction timeline has been announced.
County Councilman Bob Weiner, who represents the area and would have to sponsor the rezoning, said he is waiting to see the development plan before determining his position on the proposal.
Setting owns the property and former school, which was converted into a home and has been empty for years. The building is not listed on any historical registers because of modifications over the years.
The dilapidated stone structure sits on one of the last undeveloped parcels in Brandywine Hundred. It originally was owned by the Forwoods, a prominent family of early Delaware settlers.
Larry Tarabicos, a land-use attorney representing Setting, said the building can't be salvaged.
"It has had a lot of structural modification made to it that turned it from a school-house to a house. It no longer has the integrity of a historic structure," Tarabicos said.
The school was built with local field stone and originally measured 20 by 22 feet. Work started shortly after the General Assembly in 1796 approved a school fund using marriage and tavern license fees for public education – one of the first in the nation.
James Hanby, a local history enthusiast whose family roots date to the earliest settlers in Brandywine Hundred, said Forwood also is one of the oldest of its kind in the state.
"It functioned for educational purposes for the longest of any in Delaware and probably darn near for the first 13 colonies. It has a history that is unmatched," he said.
The school was unique because it was public – before then, teaching often was done in churches, or neighbors hired a teacher. Forwood provided a resource to children of the modest farmers and craftsmen of Brandywine Hundred, according to Virginia Shaw, a former Forwood student who compiled research by the Delaware Writers Project.
Timeline: Forwood School development plans
1796: Delaware General Assembly approves using tavern and marriage license fees to fund education.
1799: One-room Forwood School opens at Silverside and Marsh roads. It measures 20 by 22 feet.
1834: School becomes known as Brandywine Hundred District 5, with an enrollment of 58.
1864: Building is expanded to 40 by 20 feet.
1939: School is closed and area becomes part of the Alfred I. duPont district.
July 8: Public meeting planned about redevelopment proposal. Plans call for razing the structure and constructing retail and housing on the site.
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