REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Rehoboth Beach commissioners say they are prepared to move forward on the Grove Park Canal Access Project, which would include a dock capable of accommodating two 30-foot pontoon boats, and a kayak and canoe launch.
Officials believe this project would connect Lewes, Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach, draw more tourism into the resort town, and reduce the amount of traffic on the roadways.
“This is now a blue way. And we talk about a green way, and then you’re linking the canal with the bike path, so there’s other options now to get into the city,” said Pat Coluzzi, Rehoboth Beach commissioner.
But some residents are not as optimistic.
Rehoboth has raised $400,000 in grants, with an additional $200,000 for the projects $826,000 price tag.
Scott Thomas with Southern Delaware tourism was on hand today to explain there is an ongoing campaign to raise additional funding from private donors to cover unforeseen costs.
Some ask how much of a priority should this be to Rehoboth, especially if the costs continue to rise unexpectedly, or if the city isn’t able to find the funding needed.
“We have a lot of problems in the city that we need to address. We need to take all of those problems, what we estimate to be the cost of those problems, prioritize them,” said Rehoboth resident Gary Glass.
The possibility of adding on debt for the city worries some residents that this could have a direct impact on them.
“As a property, and it should be for every property owner, it could effect directly our property values. So I think we need to pay our bills as we go,” said Glass.
City officials say this has been a project that has been discussed for the better part of a decade, adding they’re satisfied with the information they have.
“We want to make sure it’s done right the first time. So we don’t run into cost overruns. I know as far as the project, we have put in a significant amount of money to make sure that any unforeseen circumstances can be handled,” said Coluzzi.
Commissioners will vote to move this process forward to hire a landscape architect at their next meeting on June 21. The next step would be to file a request for proposal and find a contractor.