Rehoboth should hold referendum on funding

July 26, 2013

This letter was sent mayor, city manager, and commissioners of Rehoboth Beach:

This letter is a follow up of all of my previous conversations and meetings with city officials.

At Save Our Lakes meetings, the members showed slides of Lake Gerar and Silver Lake. To eliminate the ducks and geese from the lakes, Lake Gerar is not to exceed 10 feet in the area enclosed with weeds and other plantings. However, many areas have overgrown to 20 feet or more and are unattended and unsightly. I’d like the city to conform to the 10-foot requirement for the buffer. I have lived near Lake Gerar since 1948, and since the buffer was planted, I have had unusual wild animals on my property, such as a muskrats, snakes (two in my cellar), and shore rats.

There is wider overgrowth on the west side of Lake Gerar, which is not visible from the streets. The city hired Envirotech Environmental Consulting to manage the buffer project. The Envirotech speaker at a recent public meeting stated that he had even seen a deer hiding in the buffer. With the beautiful setting of Silver Lake, I hope that the city does not allow this unsightly buffer to be placed at Silver Lake as well.

Rehoboth Beach claims to be a “tree city,” as printed on city newsletters. However, on Olive Avenue where I live, seven trees have been cut down on city property in the last few years and only one was replaced due to my phoning the city manager. Once Rehoboth’s slogan was “Where the Pine Meets the Brine,” but that is no longer. Only city parks have new trees planted with state funding.

Trees provide shade on city streets, help the environment, and add beauty to Rehoboth. The large trees that once grew here should be replaced. Bradford Pear trees are not much for shade, and with hot summers, shade is needed. When John Hughes was mayor, he willingly gave the city parks commission $11,000.00 to have trees planted around the Circle. As a member of the city parks commission, I went to every business with a petition to have trees planted.

The county also donated funding for planting trees in Rehoboth. Rehoboth is unique because trees grow so well near the ocean. Several years ago, a group of Rehoboth citizens saved the remaining big Sycamore trees just over the canal bridge entering Rehoboth. Several had been cut down prior to that time on both sides of the road leading into town. Just the past year, I phoned Delaware State Forestry, and they came and removed lots of ivy consuming the remaining Sycamores. I would think that city officials would notice ivy has taken over so many trees in city parks.

Sidewalks or at least a path is needed (and has been needed for a long time) on Lake Avenue near Bad Hair Day salon to Stingray restaurant. There is absolutely no place to walk but in the road. This road is heavily traveled due to being close to City Hall and Rehoboth Avenue. For 15 years, I have asked the city for a sidewalk in this location. It is very dangerous for pedestrians. If the City lacks the money for a sidewalk, perhaps they should rethink building a new City Hall, which is projected to cost millions of dollars.

Why not remodel the existing building and enlarge the bank building that the  city recently purchased on Rehoboth Avenue? Maybe the money for the City Hall should be spent to buy land for spray irrigation instead of the sanitary sewer outfall into the ocean. The treated sewage may wash up on the shore. Swimming in treated sewage does not sound very appealing.

A referendum should be held so Rehoboth taxpayers may have a say regarding all the money the city has to borrow for new buildings and the outfall. Taxpayers need to decide on such important matters.

Kitty Cole
Rehoboth Beach

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