SUBSCRIBE NOW

Lewes' Jones Farm purchased by county and others

Delaware News Desk
Jones Farm, at the corner of Kings Highway and Clay Road, with the Cape Henlopen High School football field in the background.

The historic Jones Farm in Lewes has been jointly purchased by three government agencies.

Sussex County, the City of Lewes and the Lewes Board of Public Works will acquire the 37.5-acre parcel at the corner of Kings Highway and Clay Road.

Just outside city limits, the parcel falls within the Lewes wellhead protection area, established to safeguard the local drinking water supply. In accordance with wellhead protection restrictions, county officials said the property could be used for some sort of public recreation.

The Board of Public Works plans to erect a water tower in the northwest corner of the property.

The $5.5 million-dollar purchase will be split between the agencies, with the county and the Board of Public Works contributing $2 million apiece and Lewes contributing $1.5 million.

Property owner J.G. Townsend Jr. & Co. is cutting more than $1.5 million off the original selling price, with the property appraised at $7.1 million. 

“This type of purchase is the model we should be looking for, partnerships where everyone participates – the county, the towns, property owners and developers,” said County Councilman Irwin "I.G." Burton III, whose district the parcel lies in and who was one of the principal forces in facilitating the joint purchase. “We must work together as a community, collaboratively, if we want to preserve open space for the community to enjoy now and for generations to come.”

The county, the Board of Public Works, Lewes and J.G. Townsend have signed a letter of intent, with a sales agreement to be drafted in the next few weeks. Settlement on the property is expected to close this fall.

The property is the first to be purchased by the county using funds collected through a 2006 ordinance. The ordinance allows developers to increase project densities in targeted growth areas of the county in exchange for added fees that are then earmarked for open space preservation.