On May 10, Delaware Canal 21 unveiled a draft of the Vision Study for the Delaware Canal that was funded by the William Penn Foundation and conducted during the past year in conjunction with Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L). Leading the discussion were Delaware Canal 21 Board Chairman Allen Black and Vice-Chairman Ron DiLeo. Participating in this presentation were Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn from Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and members of her executive team along with several staff from the Delaware Canal State Park. Josh Swartley, the newly appointed manager of the Park, was introduced. Also in attendance for this two-hour meeting were Representative Marguerite Quinn, who chairs the Delaware Canal Legislative Caucus, as well as Bucks County Commissioners Rob Loughery and Diane Ellis-Marseglia, and representatives from various communities located along the Delaware Canal. They were joined by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bliss, Commander of the Philadelphia District of the Army Corps of Engineers and his colleague Peter Blum, Planning Chief for the Philadelphia Army Corps District. The meeting included a signing by LTC Bliss and Secretary Dunn of the long-awaited River Wall Assessment MOU.
There was a detailed presentation of the Vision Study led by William Collins, who serves as the technical advisor to Delaware Canal 21. The ensuing discussion concerned the various projects being championed by Delaware Canal 21 and collaborating organizations such as D&L, the William Penn Foundation, and the Heritage Conservancy. Specific Delaware Canal 21 projects discussed in detail included the comprehensive Back-up Watering Pump Plan, which includes the pump in Durham that was reinstalled last year through efforts led by Delaware Canal 21, and additional pumps planned near Marshall Island and in Point Pleasant. It was announced at the meeting that Met-Ed and the First Energy Foundation have committed to a $5,000 challenge grant to support the costs associated with the Marshall Island pump. Also discussed was the comprehensive Storm Water Damage Mitigation Study, and the future creation of the first Delaware Canal Operations and Maintenance manual.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to assemble such an esteemed group of thought leaders here today, all of whom share a passion for our Delaware Canal,” said Allen Black, Chairman of Delaware Canal 21. “Without the support of the people in this room, improvements to the Canal’s care and well-being could easily end up just being a bunch of things to dream about or complain about. At Delaware Canal 21 we are all about getting things done and in this room today are the people who can make it all happen.”
“We greatly appreciate the efforts and determination of Delaware Canal 21 and their partners,” said DCNR Secretary Dunn. “It is often said that for change to happen it often ‘takes a village’ and that is exactly what Delaware Canal 21 and its partners have created. The energy in this room is truly palpable.”