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Final phase of park construction to begin at former Rodney site

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Rodney pond

The Rodney dorms are gone and the rough outline of the stormwater pond has been created. Soon, work will begin on the final phase of the project, which includes finishing the pond and building park amenities.

With demolition and excavation complete, the final phase of the Rodney stormwater pond and park will begin soon.

On Monday, city council awarded a $3.7 million contract for construction of the pond and park amenities to Smyrna-based Kent Construction Company.

Officials also disclosed that the project is going slower than expected, with completion not expected until spring 2021. As recently as February, officials said the park would open this fall.

The contract includes construction of stormwater management facilities, including a pond to alleviate flooding along South Main Street, a bio-retention area to reduce runoff and treat stormwater, demonstration stormwater features and educational signage.

It also includes building out the park, including a large playground with separate areas for toddlers and older children, walking trails, an entry plaza, a handicapped-accessible fishing pier and lighting.

The contractor will also repave Forest Lane, the short street that runs along the side of the park.

The city received four bids for the work, which all came in over budget. As a result, officials decided to remove several planned features, including a covered stage at the amphitheater, overlook decking and a stone beach area, cutting nearly $360,000 from the project. All those features could be added at a later date, if desired.

The city has already spent $5.1 million on the project, including buying the land from the University of Delaware and demolishing the old Rodney dorm complex. The project was funded by bonds approved by voters in the June 2018 referendum.

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