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Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Hercules Country Club
Gerald Kauffman, Newark DE,
Oct 1, 2020 (rev Oct 26, 2020)

Objective: The objective of this paper is to conduct an ex ante (before the project) cost/benefit analysis (CBA) of the Hercules Country Club (CC). Two alternatives are evaluated: (A) preserve land for 205-acre county park and (B) develop 205-acre site for 258 homes. The project standing is the Red Clay Creek watershed in New Castle County, Delaware with a population of 23,500 residents in 2015. The discount rate over a 30-year assumed project life is 3%. The CBA employs the equation: Net Present Value (NPV) = Present Value Benefits (B) minus Present Value Costs (C) or NPV = B – C (Boardman 2001). The alternative with the highest NPV provides the most economic benefits to society.

Project Definition: In 2010, the Hercules Company sold the 205-acre country club to a landowner with plans to develop the site for 258 homes. As this land occupies some of the last open space in the middle of northern New Castle County between Newark, Pike Creek, and Wilmington at an environmentally sensitive location along 4,000 feet of Red Clay Creek which is a drinking water supply downstream for SUEZ Delaware, a group of interested citizens became interested in preserving the land perhaps as a county park. If land is not preserved as a park, the owner has sought approval from the county to build 258 homes at a gross density of 0.5 acre/dwelling. The park would provide hiking, bird watching, and other passive recreation activities with measurable economic and environmental value to society.

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Stream Water Quality Trends in New Castle County, Delaware (1999-2014)

The University of Delaware defined water quality trends from 1999 to 2014 along 14 streams in New Castle County, Delaware.  Water quality improved or was constant at 94% of stations since 1999.  Dissolved oxygen, enterococcus bacteria, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total suspended sediment improved or were constant at 100%, 93%, 93%, 100%, and 86% of the water quality monitoring stations, respectively, since 1999.  During 2005–2010, median levels were good or fair at 100% of the stations for dissolved oxygen, 50% for bacteria, 71% for nitrogen, 86% for phosphorus, and 79% for sediment.  Since 1999, improving New Castle County water quality stations (43) outnumbered degrading stations (4) by a 10:1 margin.  Over the last decade and a half, watershed strategies such as the New Castle County National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4) Permit Program required by the Federal Clean Water Act have improved or preserved water quality along these streams, however, greater emphasis is needed to curb recent increases in nitrogen levels.

Water Quality Trends Report (1999-2014)