Killens Pond State Park has been a centerpiece for recreational activity in the Greater Milford Area since its inception as an official Delaware State Park in 1965. In 1996 the Killens Pond Water Park was introduced to the public as an interactive, family-friendly attraction that began to bring visitors from not only Delaware but the entire Delmarva Peninsula and beyond. Over the past 17 years, park maintenance crews have done their best to keep the Water Park safe and efficient for swimmers but recently the Park has come under distress from a lack of funding.
Friends of Killens Pond State Park, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization composed of park volunteers and employees, have seen the effects of the decreased funding taking place as the conditions at the Park begins to deteriorate. President of the organization Tom Feurer, states that the Water Park has been running at double its capacity for the last several years.
“There has not been any major infusion of money to the Water Park since 2008 but the number of people that we serve continues to grow,” commented Feurer. “The staff at the park has done an incredible job at maintaining the safety of the Park for the public with what they have been given.” According to Feurer about 100,000 people visit the Water Park each season, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
According to the Controller General’s Office, The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has allocated $255,000 for Killens Pond State Park for Fiscal Year 2014. Officials with the Friends of Killens Pond state that $335,000 is needed in the next fiscal year to fix the immediate needs of the Water Park and that long-term it could cost millions to make it a first class water park once again.
The Friends of Killens Pond State Park have asked State Senator Dave Lawson, who serves the area where the Park is located, for his help in attaining much needed funding in the State budget or Bond Bill. This funding will be used to repair, and in some cases replace, items in the Water Park. Senator Lawson, a member of the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee and father of Killens Pond State Park Manager Darren Lawson, states that he “will do everything he can as a legislator to help the cause.”
“The park has aged, it’s as simple as that,” stated Senator Lawson in press release titled Killens Pond Water Park Facing Rough Waters. “It’s really not an issue of neglect. These things wear out and we’re at that point now where things are starting to deteriorate. And the bigger thing is, it’s a safety issue.”
President Feurer claims that the shortfall of public funding has not only been a challenge for the Water Park but for Killens Pond State Park as a whole. He states that recently, repairs to the Water Park have come out of the overall budget for the State Park, sometimes taking away critical funds from other areas of the park.
“Short-term [the Friends of Killens Pond State Park] would like to see the money appropriated for the critical repairs that must be made; some emergency funds have been allocated to keep the Water Park open this season,” commented Feurer. “Long-term we will need to replace the pumps and well which has long outlasted its life span.”
The Killens Pond Water Park is set to open this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, and open the entire season until Labor Day Weekend. Friends of Killens Pond State Park urge individuals that want to help in their mission to allocate funds to the Water Park to contact their local legislators. Individuals can contact State Senator Dave Lawson at 302-492-1511 or by email at Dave.Lawson@state.de.us. State Representative William Outten can be reached at 302-744-4083 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.