DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara assigned Lee Ann to manage the master plan for the Historic Fort DuPont Complex. Fort DuPont is a National Historic District that dates to the Civil War.
Since it closed as a military installation, it has become home to Governor Bacon Hospital and a hodgepodge of state uses. The historic buildings are in various stages of deterioration. Fort DuPont is Delaware’s least visited state park. But the site is bounded by water on three sides, offers spectacular views of Delaware Bay and Fort Delaware, and is well-known for the quality of birding there.
Assembling a steering group that included state agencies and Delaware City, Lee Ann prepared and published a detailed Request for Proposal. From 26 responses, Sasaki Associates was awarded the $375,000 project to gather community and stakeholder input, identify and analyze the viability of potential uses, and propose alternative development scenarios. The firm also hired a historic preservation specialist to review the condition of historic buildings on the site, and an engineering firm conducted an in-depth topographic study of the low-lying area.
The resulting redevelopment plan includes a new marina, new Branch Canal crossing into the business district of Delaware City, restoration of wetlands and woods, trails and promenades, new residential housing, stabilization of historic buildings and infill among them. The project is a priority of Governor Jack Markell, who first toured the site in 2003 with Lee Ann. Lee Ann has kept the Governor’s, DNREC’s and state’s interests front and center through her guidance of the project.
Update: In June 2014, Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill 310, which creates the Fort DuPont Redevelopment Corporation.