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5/28/2006
The Eagle Has Landed at Springer Woods

Bryan Holler, a Brandywine High student and aspiring Eagle Scout, was seeking a creative community service program for certification to this terminal honor. Traveling daily from his home in Sharpley, Bryan saw the eroding condition of the Shellpot County Park recreation area adjacent to Springer Middle School and the communities of McDaniel Crest, McDaniel Heights, Fairfax, Oak Lane Manor and Concord Manor. The pathway the students walk to and from the school to Shellpot Drive was rutted and muddy in inclement weather.

Coincidentally, the community of McDaniel Crest, McDaniel Heights and Concord Manor, had been discussing similar issues. Given recent development interest in the property adjacent to Springer School, a dialog was initiated by New Castle Councilman Bob Weiner, focusing on what could become of the woodland area locally know as Springer Woods or Shellpot County Park, adjacent to Shellpot Drive.

Bryan thought he might focus his community service clearing an existing pathway in Shellpot County Park running parallel to Shellpot Drive and also restoring the pathway from Shellpot Drive to the Springer School. Bryan made contact with Councilman Weiner and the process began.

Councilman Weiner shared Bryan's idea with the officers and residents of McDaniel Civic Association and it was met with great interest and excitement. McDaniel Civic Association represents the residents of McDaniel Crest, McDaniel Heights and Concord Manor. The community felt that Bryan's idea seemed like the perfect opportunity to move forward on a long needed upgrade for Shellpot County Park.

The renovation process has become a wonderful learning experience for
Bryan and his fellow scouts, as well as for the members of the McDaniel Civic Association. Bryan worked with the McDaniel Civic Association, Brandywine School District, Councilman Weiner and the New Castle County Special Services Department to prepare a detailed proposal. The preparations included an on site inspection by representatives of the Delaware Nature Society, in order to honor conservation concerns for the parkland. The Nature Society offered a written assessment of the proposal which was adopted by the community.

The Civic Association held two community meetings to present the
proposal, adopt suggested changes, and finally vote to support the project. Once the community had reached a consensus, Councilman Bob Weiner coordinated the provision of wood chips and county supervision by working with General Manager Richard Przywara of New Castle County Special Services Department and Paul Johnson, of the department.
Special Services Department Supervisor Paul Johnson then worked directly with Councilman Bob Weiner, Bryan Holler and the McDaniel Civic Association on the project details and scheduling.

On Saturday March 18th, Bryan, his Boy Scout fellow troopers and their parents, begin phase 1 of the park renovation. They repaired the eroded
pathway between the walking bridge over Shellpot Creek and the running
track of Springer Middle School. This pathway receives heavy daily traffic from Springer students. Bryan and the volunteer crew spent Saturday morning laying a stone dust foundation the length of the 400' path, finishing the effort in just a couple of hours. They returned on Sunday morning to top off the stone dust with a nice layer of wood mulch. A couple of hours later, phase 1 of the Shellpot Park was complete. Bryan and his fellow Boy Scouts did a wonderful job and the upgraded pathway will be a welcome benefit for years to come.

The remaining phase 2 of the Shellpot County Park renovation was completed over the Easter school holiday as scheduled. Phase 2 consisted of placing wood chips on an existing community pathway running through Shellpot County Park running roughly parallel to the creek and Shellpot Drive. Councilman Bob Weiner commented upon completion, "The project was a great success thanks to the dedicated efforts of Bryan Holler, the officers of the McDaniel Civic Association, the New Castle County Special Services Department and the Delaware Nature Society. I was pleased to have been able to assist."

Laurie Donovan, President of the McDaniel Civic Association, is thrilled with the project. "Our community is always looking for ways to improve itself and offer new experiences for our neighbors. We take great pride in our neighborhood and welcome the efforts of those involved with Bryan's proposal."

RJ Miles, Vice President of McDaniel Civic Association noted that "Shellpot Park has undergone many changes over the years. The Shellpot Park recreation area once served as a winter ice rink, then basketball court and then a volleyball court. For the last few years, the area has been allowed to decay, but now it's our turn to do something new. I think our plan is a wonderful addition to the park. Councilman Weiner is to be congratulated for bringing all these elements together."

Kelsey Miles, 8, has her own take on the restored path. "My Dad takes us on walks through the park all the time. The new pathway is awesome. I don't trip or twist my leg on the rocks anymore, and now there is no more mud either. I love it."

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