Bethel UMC seeks ideas for reusing Bradley property

February 10, 2014

Even when he lived there, the former home of convicted pedophile Earl Bradley had an odd, disheveled ap­pearance. Abandoned for the last four years, the house is not only an eyesore, but a rotting reminder of the pain Bradley inflicted on the Cape Region.

After finding no buyers for the property, the bank that owned it has donated it to a neigh­boring property owner, Bethel United Meth­odist Church, along with $100,000 to offset renovation costs.

Now it’s church officials who are tasked with finding a way to reuse a property once home to a man who terrorized literally hun­dreds of children. Church officials say they plan to take some time to develop a plan, and the church has already announced plans to seek input from Lewes-Rehoboth Association of Churches.

It is to be hoped that in their planning, church officials will also seek input from fami­lies of the children Bradley abused.

While some families want never to hear Bradley’s name again, other families might find healing simply in having a voice in decid­ing the future of the property.

Bradley’s infamous office, BayBees Pediat­rics on Route 1, was demolished so children and families would never again have to see it.

Demolition is an obvious starting point in reusing Bradley’s residential property, even if the house sits in Lewes’ historic district. Some might argue the building typifies a certain ar­chitectural era in Lewes, but the crimes of its most recent owner clearly outweigh any lim­ited architectural contribution the structure makes. The church should not have to spend money to turn this wreck of an old house into something usable.

Lewes Mayor Jim Ford has already said the city is willing to consider any plan the church brings forward, and we hope the community comes up with big plans. One idea officials could consider: This property would be a perfect location for a much-needed research facility for the study and treatment of child abuse.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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