THE SYMBOL of our squandered, inaccessible Delaware waterfront is not so much the presence of the big-box stores like Walmart, but what lies directly behind Walmart: a hurricane fence plastered with large "No Trespassing" signs (and plastered, as well, with trash). That fence and those signs say everything about how we have, until recently, treated one of the city's great treasures, especially people's access to that treasure.
Slowly but surely, that began to change five years ago, when thousands of citizens participated in creating a new master plan for the central Delaware waterfront, which in turn has led to new trails, a new park, and plans for much more. Last week that very parcel behind Walmart was acquired for a new wetlands park with a $1.25 million grant from the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (and a donation from the property's owners). The park's plan and creation will be overseen by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which acts as the steward of the waterfront.