Two outcomes possible for Rehoboth park

November 16, 2012

The Nov. 6 Cape Gazette notes that Rehoboth commissioners have agreed to build a park to honor Rehoboth Beach's sister city, but have not yet agreed on details concerning the control and maintenance of the city parkland.  From my perspective, the most important remaining issue to be determined is the extent to which control over this precious piece of public land is being given to the Rehoboth Beach Sister Cities Association.

As is often the case, it is the yet to be determined “details” that will determine whether the dedication of the Cranberry Park land to a small (population 14,000) city in Tuscany will preclude future use of the lakeside parkland for other purposes or to honor other groups.  As the details are worked out, I urge the commissioners to keep in mind that Rehoboth Beach has very little remaining undedicated park land and there is little, if any, prospect for gaining additional park land in the future.

There are two possible outcomes:

• A nicely landscaped public space that is accessible to all and includes appropriate acknowledgment of Rehoboth Beach's new “sister city” relationship with the Italian city of Greve in Chianti, Italy that is commensurate in size and scope with that city’s park honoring Rehoboth Beach.

• The loss of one of the last remaining open spaces to a 9,000-square-foot park dedicated in perpetuity to the sole purpose of honoring the Italian city of  Greve in Chianti, Italy and Giovanni da Verrazzano.

I’m encouraged by the concerns expressed by Mayor Cooper and commissioners Zellers, Sargent, Gossett and Mills.  Hopefully, our representatives will insist on protections to ensure that the Cranberry Park land remains available for other purposes (in addition to honoring our long lost sister city) and is not lost to future generations.

Michael Bednarek
Rehoboth Beach

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