Bethany Beach News
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It was a day more than a decade in the making, as Bethany Beach town council members were joined by state and federal officials last Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially opened the Town’s long-planned and, now, completed Streetscape project.
The redesign of a little more than two blocks that make up the town’s primary commercial district included the removal of overhead utility lines and the related poles; new lighting; reorganization of streetside parking, swapping angled parking to the exteriors of the street and parallel parking to the median; redefined bicycle lanes; wider sidewalks, free of the obstruction of utility poles; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant curbs and crosswalks featuring inlaid brick; and changes aimed at calming traffic in an area with some of the heaviest pedestrian traffic in the state.
The idea behind Streetscape arose in 2001, with the Town’s beautification subcommittee. Numerous design ideas were floated over the years, with a mixed response from the council and the public. After considering public input on a series of initial designs, the committee did come up with a set of goals for the project:
A new project along Bethany Beach Loop Canal could see the marsh there slowly restoring itself.
The Delaware Center for Inland Bays has brought the Living Shorelines program to a small chunk of wetlands near the canal, just north of Route 26. By installing pine logs in the shallow water, the CIB hopes to preserve and even rebuild the marsh, naturally.
The goal is to avoid “hardening” shorelines with bulkheads, riprap and seawalls, all of which diminish wildlife, said Sally Boswell, CIB education and outreach coordinator.
In the shallow water, 10- to 20-foot logs were staked in the Salt Pond shallows in a herringbone pattern. It creates a breakwater, so the water is calmer behind the logs on a tiny strip of land that delineates the canal and protects the mainland.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 will host a Memorial Day service at the Bethany Beach bandstand on Monday, May 25. The free service begins at 11 a.m., and the entire community is being invited to attend.
Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.
Bethany’s two homegrown farmers’ markets are set to reopen in June, sharing many of the same growers in a producers-only showcase of local fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The 11th annual Seaside Craft Show will be held in downtown Bethany Beach on Saturday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sponsored by the Cultural & Historical Affairs Committee, the juried fine crafts show will feature more than 100 fine crafters along the boardwalk, bandstand area, Garfield Parkway and Parkwood Street.
The Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade Committee is in the process of planning its 32nd annual event and is seeking volunteers. The event will take place on Saturday, July 4. The 2015 grand marshals will be Phil and Mary Rossi, in recognition of their years of dedicated service to making the parade what it is today.
People can peek behind the scenes and pick up safety tips at the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company on EMS Day 2015.
The Gardeners by the Sea club will hold its third annual hydrangea sale this Mother’s Day weekend. The sale will be held on Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in front of McCabe’s Gourmet Market in the York Beach Mall in South Bethany. If the club does not sell out of plants on Saturday, they will be selling the remainder on Sunday, May 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At this year’s sale, “toddler” and “teen” hydrangeas will be sold to the public — offering a gift-shopping opportunity for plant-loving mothers.
“We have different sizes this year. They start at $8, and the larger ones will be a little bit more, but not to exceed $16,” said Lisa Arni, who created the sale three years ago. “We have the chemicals to make the hydrangeas ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys,’ and we’re going to wrap them in pink or blue, and will give out an adoption paper.”
New this year to the sale will be the attendance of a Master Gardener, who will answer any questions those attending may have.
“We’re going to have a Master Gardner at the sale to answer any questions about the hydrangeas or any other gardening questions, which we haven’t had in the past. They can really ask anything when they come,” said Arni, who is a Master Gardener herself.
Delaware has nearly 300 Master Gardeners — who collectively volunteer more than 20,000 hours per year to the Delaware Cooperative Extension’s home horticulture program.
Town Manager Cliff Graviet announced on April 17 that the long-planned and long-running Streetscape project in Bethany Beach was officially complete — except for a few “punchlist” items.
Newly constructed roads and sidewalks need hours, if not days, to set properly. But after that, the painted white lines can dry in just three minutes, noted road workers putting the finishing touches on Bethany Beach’s Streetscape project on April 17.
Yet, that high speed also needs high heat.
Ben Villegas used a blowtorch to heat a handcart of melted white thermoplastic to about 400 degrees. That’s much hotter than regular asphalt, and it’s not something one wants to touch.
“You only do it a couple times,” Brett Johns said ruefully. “Then you learn your lesson.”
They had already completed the striping for the parking spaces and were creating “pavement markings,” including the arrows and text for the Garfield Parkway turn lanes.
Although he could draw the arrows free-hand, Mark Johns opted to stencil a quick outline with spray paint, to ensure uniformity on identical arrows so closely placed on the roadway.
Native plants are the best of both worlds; they bring natural beauty and wildlife to the back yard, but they were also meant to live in coastal Delaware, so they are less likely to need extra water or nutrients.
Their popularity accounts for the 11th year of the Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale, on Saturday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The nighttime cocktail party also returns on the eve of the sale.
Organizer Sally Boswell of event sponsor the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays called this the “one-stop-shop for going native in your garden,” hosted annually at James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.
“The big stores, for the most part — they have not gotten into native plant offerings in their nurseries. So it’s our small, local, independent nurseries that are leading the way in that,” said Boswell.
Five nurseries will sell thousands of flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees.
Mid-Atlantic survey first step in oil/gas drilling
Two Texas companies have requested permission to perform surveys off the Delaware coast for potential oil and gas reserves. GX Technology Corporation and Spectrum Geo Inc. applied for permits to do deep-penetration seismic surveys on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.
The 4th Annual Earth Day Celebration will take place at the Bethany Beach Nature Center on Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Under the Big Top, there will be nature games, crafts, raffles and prizes. There will also be up-close encounters with Liz and her raptors, and James with his honeybees. Readers can visit the Nature Book Table to find books “free to a good home.”
For the third year in a row, a car rallye will be held to support Justin’s Beach House, a respite home in Bethany Beach for families impacted by cancer.
The Justin’s Beach House Poker and Fun Car Rallye III was created by Ocean View residents Bob and Nancy Lueckel.
Last fall, the Christian Church Conference Center’s new Alexander Cambell Hall was completed in Bethany Beach. This Saturday, the church is inviting the public to visit the new facility.
“It’s a very nice building,” said Alexis Distler, program manager. “It turned out just as we wanted it to.”
It’s time to clean out those closets and maybe donate some old shoes to a good cause. The Lord Baltimore Lioness Club will host a used shoe drive Thursday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. at South Coastal Library. The service club has also invited teenager Emma Rider to give a firsthand account of her experiences in transforming old shoes into clean water.
With the official rain-or-shine race day set for Saturday, May 9, the deadline to pre-register for the Bethany Beach Breast Cancer Run/Walk has arrived.
For five months, nearly 40 different people in the Sussex County area who were homeless had a warm, dry place to sleep and a hot meal every day, in downtown Bethany Beach.
SOUL (Serving Others Under the Lord) Ministries, an outreach ministry for those who are homeless or in need, teamed up with the Southeast Sussex Ministerium to use Stone House — one of the vacant beach houses on the campground of the Christian Church Conference Center — as a shelter for those who would otherwise be out in the cold.
The home sleeps 16, with six bedrooms and four bathrooms on the second floor and two handicapped-accessible bedrooms on first floor that share a bathroom. There is a fireplace, kitchen, dining area and two meeting areas.
“When we thought ‘shelter,’ we were thinking one big room with a bunch of cots,” said Eric Snyder, who helped form SOUL a few years ago of the initial push to create a new southern Sussex shelter. “Never did we think we’d be offered a whole house.”
The Bethany Beach Town Council at its March 20 meeting unanimously approved the budget for the Town’s 2016 fiscal year, which begins April 1. The budget calls for $8.4 million in revenue, with $7 million going to operating costs and $1.4 million to capital projects and debt repayment.
Council Treasurer Jerry Dorfman noted that that budget before the council, including proposed increases in parking and water use rates, had been recommended for adoption by the Budget & Finance Committee.
The fee increases add 25 cents per hour to the parking rate, raising it to $1.75 per hour, with commensurate increases in the costs for daily and weekly parking passes and for shuttle buses from outside communities. (Rehoboth Beach recently raised its metered parking rates from $1.50 per hour to $2 per hour.)