Goals for the site since plans were revealed in the spring of 2016 have included – along with the trails and public parkland space – commercial and possibly residential parcels.

With a new water main set to begin installation this month, the state’s ongoing and extensive revitalization of the former National Vulcanized Fiber (NVF) site in Yorklyn continues to move forward.

According to Matt Chesser, Environmental Program Administrator with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Planning, Preservation and Development Section, work on a pumping substation and an extensive wetland project began shortly after June’s Yorklyn Day celebration.

Chesser said that with only some minor landscaping left to be completed in the spring, the wetlands project is largely done.

“It’s getting there. We’re already seeing wildlife out there, which was a major goal,” Chesser said.

Work on the water line, being installed by Artesian subcontractor Cirillo Brothers, is expected to begin before the end of the month.

“It will not only provide water to site, but to fire hydrants along [Yorklyn Road], so people living along Yorklyn Road, their insurance rates could even be adjusted, as is sometimes the case when you’re in close proximity to one,” Chesser said.

Construction will take place along the shoulder from Old Wilmington Road down to NVF, and is expected to last for the next couple of months, he said, with the traffic impact minimized.

Chesser said that bids would soon be opened for completion of the trail connection and Yorklyn Bridge trail loop across from NVF, with a new boardwalk and bridge along the backside of the preserve to Benge Road, along with a new driveway and walkway to the back of the nearby Auburn Heights mansion.

“What we have as far as trails loop is a trail at the edge of the [Pennsylvania] line,” he said. “Auburn Heights will be connected into [the Center for the Creative arts], so other than crossing the creek or Yorklyn Road itself, it is all off-road walking. This is the first critical link to connecting the trails together as we’ve been discussing.”

Goals for the site since plans were revealed in the spring of 2016 have included – along with the trails and public parkland space – commercial and possibly residential parcels.

“There has been commercial interest … but it is being actively marketed now,” Chesser said.

That activity is increasing now that water is coming to the site, he added.

“At the site, we had sewer and electric and gas, but no plumbing and water, so that’s a big plus,” Chesser said.

Regarding the remaining structures on the site, Chesser said, with the exception of the large building with the NVF logo along Yorklyn Road, most of the rest of the buildings will remain.

“The big NVF building with undergo asbestos remediation and be torn down, it’s not historic and will be removed,” he said. “Another newer building will also be removed.”

Remaining buildings include the NVF/Marshall Brothers Plant along Benge Road.

Looking ahead, Chesser said the site’s next big project is the completion of the proposed amphitheater for the Delaware Symphony, and the Wilmington and Western Railroads trainstation stop, with the goal of completing in 2018.

“We’re looking to have them both in place by Yorklyn Day 2018,” he said. “And all connected by a trail around the wetlands. At the end of the day, it’s a very walkable campus from CCArts, to Auburn Heights, to the amphitheater.”

A historic bridge crossing the Red Clay Creek behind the Marshall Brothers paper mill – a bow string bridge from Iowa that has been refurbished and will be reassembled – is also part of the plan. They’re also toying with the idea of incorporating elements of the removed buildings and equipment into the project – like the huge gears currently sitting along Yorklyn Road.

“They’ll likely remain on site, either as is or part of salvage art,” Chesser said.

For complete information on the plan, visit dnrec.delaware.gov/PARKS/INFORMATION/Pages/AuburnVMP.aspx.