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Rehoboth canal dock’s time has come

April 13, 2018

It was refreshing to read in the April 6 edition of the Cape Gazette that Rehoboth Beach Mayor and Commissioners have unanimously endorsed a proposed $835,000 project to construct a dock and access ramp along the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal near the Rehoboth Beach Museum.

That endorsement gives project supporters a green light to explore sources of state and private funding.

With a landscaped, wheelchair-accessible ramp switchbacking its way down the steep bank just north of the Rehoboth Avenue drawbridge, the dock would provide canalside access to Rehoboth Beach for people arriving from Dewey Beach or Lewes via water taxi, canoes, kayaks, small boats or paddleboards. They could visit one of the resort's many parks or restaurants for a while and then head back out of town without having added further congestion to the streets and highways.

The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal is a significant and naturally interesting link between the beach communities in the northeastern corner of Sussex.

Not only would the dock make the canal an accessible transportation waterway for Rehoboth Beach, it would also give the Rehoboth public greater visual access to the expansive natural areas along the canal.

The need for a public canal-access point in Rehoboth Beach has long been recognized. For nearly 20 years, outfitters in Lewes have offered kayaking trips to Dogfish Head in Rehoboth. There has been easy water access from the Canalfront Park in Lewes, but at the Rehoboth end, paddlers have had to negotiate a steep, rickety wooden walkway up to street level.

The good news is that this nearly shovel-ready project has been percolating since 2011, waiting for strong Rehoboth support and an improving economy to generate funding. With Rehoboth's recent endorsement, the necessary elements are in place to give the project a stronger-than-ever chance to succeed.

With the evolving system of walking and bicycle trails in the area, the addition of the dock would further cement the Delaware Cape Region's allure as an exciting destination for outdoor recreation.

 

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.