Hockessin community members honor Liane and Boyd Sorenson with pathway dedication
It’s a love story that starts with an idea for a pathway and ends with a sign and a kiss.
On Friday, June 8, former state senator Liane Sorenson and her husband, Boyd, were honored for their work in preserving, connecting, and beautifying the Hockessin area by a number of community stakeholders.
Members of Delaware Greenways, the Hockessin Historical Society, and state legislators, worked together to officially name the stretch of pathway along Valley Road “Sorenson's Way,” complete with signage and an official House Resolution.
The Sorensons were both instrumental in bringing the pathway together, dating back to the late 90s, through Liane’s support with legislation and funding, and Boyd’s on-hands work with Greenways and other organizations.
Although organizers tried to keep the secret under wraps, not much goes unnoticed in the House – Liane caught wind of the resolution earlier in the week.
“I had someone come up to me and say, ‘congratulations!’” Liane said. “I said, ‘what?’ It was still a big surprise.”
Greenways member Dick Saunders said that the Sorensons had greatly enhanced the environment in Hockessin through their ongoing efforts over the years.
“They did that [through] a tremendous amount of volunteer service and political service,” Saunders said.
Saunders said that in 1992, when Boyd was president of the Greater Hockessin Area Development Association, the question was presented of what could be accomplished in Hockessin.
By 1997, Boyd had spearheaded several enhancement projects, including the Route 41 Safety Improvement Project, the Old Lancaster Pike Streetscape project, and the Valley Road Greenway project.
Those projects took nine, 14, and 18 years respectively to complete, according to Saunders.
“That’s a lot of patience,” Saunders said.
He added that every time he met with Liane regarding the pathway project, she was quick to remind him that Boyd had started the ball rolling.
“She is very proud of her husband,” Saunders said.
Saunders said it was Greenways member John Iwasyk who first presented the “good idea” to name it after the Sorensons. They sought help from Rep. Joe Miro, who was enthusiastic about the idea.
It was Miro who introduced House Resolution 11, backed by Reps. Deborah Hudson, Greg Lavelle, and Paul Baumbach.
“I was delighted,” Miro said of the idea. “My part was to make it happen, along with my colleagues.”
He also pointed out that Valley Road is the most travelled road in Hockessin, and that the pathway increases the safety of pedestrians who frequently use the path.
“It was really a wonderful bipartisan effort,” Hudson said of the trail’s development, and of the naming process. “There’s absolutely nothing better than to try and make this area beautiful.”
The Hockessin pathway is part of a larger network of walkable pathways; the goal is to eventually connect with pathways to Pike Creek, Yorklyn, and Newark, as well as other historic sites along what is referred to as the “Bulah Trail” in Hockessin.
It was Miro who said the trail represents the Sorensons love story, which stretches back to their time together as students at the University of Delaware in the 1960s.
“They’ve been together since then, and we’ve been friends and colleagues ever since,” Miro said.
Boyd said that years ago, stakeholders in Hockessin came to the realization that the trail project was the key to uniting downtown Hockessin with the newly developing Lantana Square.
“Out of that group of people we formed Hockessin Greenways, a total volunteer effort, with the idea of connectivity of this community,” Boyd said. “It was incredible, the people who stepped up to work on this effort.”
He added that from the greenways path goals spawned beautification and roadway improvement efforts – all community driven.
“We’re really so proud of our Hockessin community,” he said.
Liane said the dedication was a total surprise for something they initiated years before.
“It’s so nice to be remembered,” she said. “I spent a lot of time on this little neck of the woods.”
Liane also reflected on the people and energy that helped create both the pathway, and the many other community projects accomplished by Hockessin volunteers and residents.
“We’ve got a good group of people here in Hockessin,” Liane said. “It’s changed over the years, but there’s a lot of volunteer hours and a lot of community spirit here.”