MURPHY HOUSE STRATEGY MEETING - SEPTEMBER 21, 2011
A meeting was held at the home
of Susan and Larry Hoover in
all citizens concerned about the
Murphy House demolition
threatened by Nemours in three
Five elected officials were
New Castle County Councilman Bob
New Castle County Councilman
John Cartier attended.
New Castle County Councilman Tom
Kovach sent aide Grant Firestone
Delaware State Senator Michael
Delaware State Representative
Debra Heffernan attended.
The Delaware Department of
Transportation sent policy maker
Also present from the citizenry
Mark Chura of Delaware Greenways
Christine Thomas of
Falstad of John Milner
Mary Sue Boyle
Dan Griffin and Terry Graham of
Preservation Delaware had a
board meeting at the same time
and could not attend.
Delaware State Representative
Greg Lavelle stated that he
could not attend.
Gov Markell's office responded
and noted that they were sending
Lt. Gov Matt Denn's office sent
No response from either of our
US Senators or US Congressman or
A few other citizens from the
Facebook group sent their
regrets and support.
The meeting started with socializing then
started promptly at 5:00 PM. The
first presentation was by Mark
Chura of the Delaware Greenways
outlining a viable plan to use
the house as a trail head and a
bike barn. Among other uses,
parents and children of AI
patients could walk across the
street and grab a bike and take
a ride along the Greenways trail
which goes right through the
Murphy House. The project would
be done in two stages: first to
stabilize the building and make
the exterior pristine, then to
use the first floor only ( the
major expense is in creating
access to the second floor),
eventually using the building as
a coffee shop (they already have
a viable interested business
person), bus stop, and other
community uses. Mr. Chura's plan
is written out and ready to
present to Nemours.
The elected officials all acknowledged
support for this idea and will
follow up with signatures on a
petition to Secretary Bhatt of
the Department of
Brett Taylor, policy maker for the
Department of Transportation,
representing Secretary Shailen
Bhatt answered questions and
comments from the floor. He
stated DelDOT's position which
was that they are not taking the
lead role in this to enforce the
deed restrictions set forth by
DelDOT when the property was
transferred to Nemours for the
sum of $10 (ten dollars). He
said they realize that they make
take heat about this, especially
in light of recent land deal
scandals made by DelDOT during
the Minner administration. He
stated that the policy has not
yet been solidified and is still
under consideration and DelDOT
may help out our cause.
Michael Falstad, an architect with John Milner Associates
presented their study
titled "Feasibility Study for
the Stabilization of Historic
Structures" done eleven years ago (April,
2000) for the assessment of
three buildings including the
Murphy House, when the
whole A-Z bypass was being
planned. Chapter two of the
document provides a description
cost estimates for the Murphy House. The
total to stabilize it then was
estimated to be $79,175.00. Mr.
Falstad pledged support of our
efforts and will assist in
presentation drawings for the
Bob Valihura, who is an attorney, discussed
with the group the legal aspects
of the deed restrictions and
filing to enforce.
Roseanne Fogarty, owner of Hockessin based
Every Day Artists contacted me
about making use of the Murphy
House as an art therapy
building. She suggested the Art
For Life Foundation which sets
up and funds these ventures. She
would be willing to take the
lead on this. http://www.artforlife.org/
This would be a winning
situation for Nemours, the
community, and the patients of
SUGGESTED MEETING AGENDA
STRATEGY AND DIRECTION
Wednesday September 21, 2011 at 4:30
PM. Endurance: about two hours.
social, refreshments served.
Discuss viable uses for the house.
- present coffee house plan.
- what non profits can we contact?
- who else may be interested?
- discuss parking, access, and zoning problems
and how to overcome them.
- preserve in stages? Renovate exterior,
stabilize interior, then redo interior
Sources of funding.
- national and local historic
- federal funds.
- state funds.
Publicity is our best defense against
Nemours. Money is not a major object for them,
deplore negative publicity. How can we
make them sensitive to this?
- reporters and news articles
- website and Facebook groups
- get as many local and state and
federal politicians involved as
possible, this creates visibility.
Who has pull
with any of the senators,
representatives, and other public
etc, that can encourage
them to join with us?
DelDOT seems to be the key player in
enforcing the deed restrictions and
What action can
we take to get them more involved?
- Sec of Transportation Shailen Bhatt
seems interested, but he needs more
Last ditch effort: legal action. Do
we have anyone lined up who can file at
the 11th hour?
What needs to
be done in this area?
Can we encourage Nemours to return the
property to the state? Can we get the
state to accept it?