History of GHADA

In early 1967, at the urging of the Hockessin Community Club, “a small group of interested people met to discuss what could be done to create some kind of organization in the (Hockessin) area so that some immediate problems and some other fast becoming problems might be handled in an orderly and democratic manner.”  So wrote Francis J. Swift as he recalled the events that set in motion the creation of GHADA. This small planning group worked together, and on May 2, 1967 Hockessin had its first town meeting (of recent history) at the Hockessin Fire engine room.

More than a hundred people came to that meeting, including several individuals who are still associated with GHADA. The town meeting defined community priorities as: 1. Traffic Control;  2. Police Protection;  3.  Park Land and Community Recreation;  4. Local Sanitation; and Street Lighting.

A group of 16 organizing delegates were selected to establish a new community organization with by-laws and committees.  The group worked over the summer to define the Greater Hockessin Area Development Association.  The leaders acted immediately on community input from that meeting and made arrangements with the School Board to use local school facilities for recreation during the summer of 1967.

A second town meeting was held October 24, 1967 and reports were presented from the following committees: Constitution and By-Laws; Beautification; Parks and Recreation; Legislative; Planning and Zoning; Public Works; Public Relations; and Liaison.  A permanent group of 25 directors were elected and the By-Laws were approved.  The County Attorney was the guest speaker at this meeting.  From the beginning the scope of GHADA’s activity was broad based and focused on the whole community.

The By-Laws state: “The purpose of the Greater Hockessin Development Association shall be to identify problems or areas of concern to the residents and businesses of the Greater Hockessin area; to analyze the problems; to serve as an instrument through which the united voice of the Greater Hockessin area may be expressed; to promote civic improvements; and to take whatever action necessary to attain our goals.”

Further, GHADA’s By-Laws stipulate that membership is open to all within the Greater Hockessin area who attend the meetings and indicate an interest in GHADA’s objectives. GHADA continues to attempt to involve the whole community, and is always looking for community ideas, concerns and volunteers.

The permanent GHADA Board met November 8, 1967 and established the following officers:

President Francis J. Swift; Vice President Dr. James Hughes; Treasurer Nestor Lopez and Secretary Mrs. T.R.Woods.

The record of other presidents of GHADA over the years is listed on the attachment. It is noteworthy that Francis Swift was elected a member of New Castle County Council in 1972.

1967 to 1993 – Over the past 26 years GHADA has been issue oriented and centered on community development plans, programs for community improvement and the specific problems of civic association. The focus has been on community safety, schools, recreation, environment quality, and of course, zoning, development and land use. An early concern was monitoring water levels to assure adequate supply and quality of community ground water.  GHADA was a leader in establishing lighting and signs at road intersections for improved safety.

GHADA worked cooperatively with other community groups such as the Hockessin Community Club, Hockessin/Yorklyn Lions, Historic Red Clay Valley Association and others to sponsor, plan and conduct community events, such as the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. The dedication of the Hockessin Bicentennial Park was a highlight of the celebration, in part because GHADA was instrumental in working with New Castle County to establish the park, later renamed the Francis J. Swift Memorial Park.  GHADA continues to be the sponsor of the very successful Hockessin Fourth of July parade.

Over the last 15 years GHADA’s focus has been predominately on land use and development issues as the Hockessin community has grown rapidly.  GHADA attempts to represent the whole community as well as specific civic groups that can be impacted by new and planned development. Particular concern has been given to maintaining the quality of the Cockeysville aquifer, providing adequate water, sewer and road infrastructure and preserving the residential character of our community.

Today GHADA has 42-member board and indirectly represents about 100 civic and maintenance associations and the whole community. GHADA has established a good reputation with New Castle County Council as well as the County Executive and is consulted by developers and politicians on proposed development and community plans. Current priorities include improvements of certain roads within the community, standards and plans to control outdoor advertising signs, increasing our interaction with additional civic groups, pro=active planning and to develop more community events cooperatively with other Hockessin community groups. GHADA intends to remain faithful to the original purpose of its founders in 1967; to identify problems or areas of concern to the residents and businesses of the Greater Hockessin area; to analyze the problems; to serve as an instrument through which the united voice of the Greater Hockessin area may be expressed; to promote civic improvements; and to take whatever action necessary to attain our goals.

GHADA Presidents 

1967 – Francis Swift

1968 – Francis Swift

1969 – James Hughes

1970 – 

1971 – Bob Tarney

1972 – 

1973 – 

1974 – John Drysdale

1975 – John Drysdale

1976 – Lee Murch

1977 – Lee Murch

1978 – Lyle Hartman

1979 – Neil Campbell

1980 – Ed Howard

1981 – Ed Howard

1982 – Cliff Kratzer

1983 – Randy Blackmer

1984 – Randy Blackmer

1985 – Eugena  Mitchell

1986 – Kay Lord

1987 – Kay Lord

1988 – Kay Lord

1989 – CJ Seitz

1990 – CJ Seitz  90-91

1991 – Kent Jordan/Wayne Merritt  91-92

1992 – Boyd Sorenson  92-93

1993 – Janet Kilpatrick  93-94

1994 – Wayne Merritt  94-95

1995 – Wayne Merritt  95-96

1996 – Wayne Merritt  96-97

1997 – Wayne Merritt/CJ Seitz  97-98

1998 – Ken Murphy  98-99

1999 – Ken Murphy  99-00

2000 – Ken Murphy  00-01

2001 – Ken Murphy  01-02

2002 – Ken Murphy  02-03

2003 – Ken Murphy  03-04

2004 – Ken Murphy  04-05

2005 – Ken Murphy  05-06

2006 – John Flanagan  06-07

2007 – John Flanagan  07-08

 

Written by: Boyd Sorenson and Lee Murch May,1993

Updated 2001, 2008 (JWD)