Dewey Beach is famous for its nightlife, but also treasured by residents and visitors are a few serene spots, where there are no condominiums, no bars and no crowds – where people go to see a sunset or hear waves lapping on the marsh. Sunset Park is one of those spots.
In the last decade, the park has suffered extensive erosion. The sandy beach at the end of Dagsworthy Avenue has narrowed and taken away a natural wildlife habitat.
The Center for the Inland Bays is proposing a comprehensive project to give the park a facelift.
Center for the Inland Bays Science Coordinator Bartholomew Wilson issued a report detailing the proposal. The plan includes installing devices to reduce wave energy and prevent shore erosion. From 500 to 600 square feet of concrete oyster castles, which foster oyster growth and reduce wave energy, would also be placed near the shoreline.
“The stormwater along Dagsworthy Street currently does not adequately drain,” Wilson wrote.
The existing stormwater outfall would be extended, and a one-way tide gate would be installed to combat flooding, Wilson said.
The center is also planning to remove invasive species from the wetland and plant high tide bush, northern bayberry and switchgrass in its place. “The restored wetland would aid in buffering the adjacent properties from wave actions, while providing nutrient removal and habitat in the Sunset Beach cove area,” Wilson wrote.
The town is proposing its own project of smaller improvements to the park. Dewey Beach Town Manager Marc Appelbaum presented a $660 plan at the Jan. 11 town council meeting, which would replace the park’s wooden footbridge, which leads to a gazebo, and move the gazebo a few feet farther from the bay.
The town’s plan also includes installing solar lights in the gazebo, and posting signs that display park hours and prohibit smoking. A $200 per month maintenance contract would ensure debris and invasive species are removed, according to the plan.
Appelbaum said the town’s proposal could be funded using surplus from last year’s budget. The Center for the Inland Bays proposal would be grant-funded, he said.
The center is asking for a letter from town council recommending the proposed beach restoration and a donation from the town, Appelbaum said.
He told council no action was yet needed on the proposal. “This is a work-in-progress,” he said.