The papers are filled today with another DelDOT story indicating a sweet deal similar to the one with a liquor distributor in Milford.
Around 2003 a parcel on Rt 113 north of Milford was owned by Fred Hertich who wanted to open a couple of dealships on a parcel. The State Planning office pooh-poohed the idea; enter then Governor Ruth Ann Minner who pushed for the development. Plans were in development stages for a new interchange in that area, which would take years, as it is just being built 9 years later.
Hertich didn’t want to wait, he had an investment in land and he wanted to develop it, so DelDOT went ahead and gave him a temporary entrance, the project was completed, a nice looking complex, and I haven’t heard of any traffic problems because of the development.
To many of you it may appear as the good-ole-boy politics as usual game; to me it was business.
When I was in economic development for the county we tried to obtain an entrance to a property just north of the Maryland Delaware line. We were rebuffed several times. The gentleman who owned the parcel was elderly, owned a small business, had no pension plan, and had purchased the property hoping to sell it for his retirement income.
It was his land, bought and paid for with his money and he couldn’t develop it?
When the next DelDOT Secretary came on board, we tried our luck again. Once again his staff spoke of negative reasons not to develop the land, but this Secretary stood his ground, bucked his staff and slowly turned their negative thoughts into a positive position on giving us an entrance.
Today with the large WaWa and the nice shopping center and a McDonald’s proudly sits that large development. Not only were a lot of people employed in the building, many people now have jobs, the Town of Delmar and their school has a new huge tax base.
To my knowledge there has been no harm to the environment or traffic patterns; everyone came out a winner including the owner of the property who is now able to enjoy the rewards of his years of hard work and foresight.
Too often pencil pushers who work for the government don’t think beyond the box; they have never had to sign a paycheck on the front, only on the back whether there is a recession, snow, hurricane, whatever, they get a check.
The same with the Hertrich deal, more jobs, larger tax base, and the right to develop your property. Governor Minner scored a hole-in-one on that call.