Left: Randall Larrimore, Chair of the Board of Directors, Chesapeake Conservancy, and Right: Seaford Mayor David Genshaw) Photo: Trisha Newcomer/City of Seaford

Historic Oyster House Site Revitalization on Nanticoke River Underway

The centerpiece of a revitalization project along the Seaford River Walk on the Nanticoke River is officially under construction.

Chesapeake Conservancy and the mayor of Seaford, Delaware broke ground Tuesday on a new park at the site of the old J.B. Robinson Oyster House. It will enhance access to the Nanticoke with a reconstructed bulkhead, living shoreline, and fishing “nooks” for community use. The plans also include boat docking facilities, a kayak launch, and a performance deck. It’s all scheduled to be complete by spring 2021 and ready for public use by summer.

The $1.2 million in improvements are just Phase One of a larger project on the one-acre waterfront property, which Chesapeake Conservancy and the Mt. Cuba Center helped the City of Seaford buy.

After the city acquired the parcel in 2018, there were two years of public planning and comment periods to seek community input. In February 2020, a master plan for the Oyster House Park was approved. It called for four stages of the park’s construction, to be completed over five years.

Seaford Mayor David Genshaw applauds the public access this park allows to the Nanticoke, noting that that the multi-phase project will help promote Seaford’s history, drive economic boost to the downtown area, and promote protecting the river.

This property is the latest in some 2,700 acres Chesapeake Conservancy has helped conserve across the corridor linking Vienna, MD, to Seaford. The 19 projects link to other previously conserved properties and refuges, which creates 19,300 total acres of conserved land in the Nanticoke River watershed.

Chesapeake Conservancy notes that the Nanticoke is “one of the few tributaries to the Chesapeake that remain unspoiled and offers an area of very high biological diversity.”

Chesapeake Conservancy Board Member Randall Larrimore, who grew up in the City of Seaford, said “I am thrilled that the first phase of this park is underway. It will give people a reason to go downtown and enjoy our wonderful river. This project will have an even bigger reverberating impact by inspiring visitors to help conserve the Nanticoke River and the Chesapeake Bay itself, adding to a growing movement to protect and restore 30 percent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2030.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano