Mayor Ford kept Lewes streets open to skateboarders

The celebration banner across Savannah Road in Lewes heralds the end of Jim Ford's 10 years as Mayor. BY DENNIS FORNEY
May 16, 2014

The folks in Lewes hung a big banner over Savannah Road a week or two back announcing Mayor Jim Ford Appreciation Day. A nice home-town touch.

Ford, of course, is retiring from his post after 10 years as mayor and a total of 22 years serving the town in elected offices.

The appreciation day event, Sunday, May 18, promises to be memorable. A mini DooDah Parade will pick up the Mayor and Mayoress (Teresa) from their Savannah Road home at 1:45 Sunday afternoon and carry them to Lewes Canalfront Park. Those who want to join the parade should show up at 1:30 p.m. and park along Sussex Drive beside the school. Capt. Speed Lackhove said he hopes to join the procession. “I was Jim’s sixth grade teacher in Newark,” Speed told me when I mentioned the event. “He was even a nice guy then.”

I expect a few local characters will show up for the procession. Bicycles, skateboards always welcome for DooDah Parades. The mayor accomplished a lot in his many years as mayor. To me, one of his most singular and enlightened achievements was keeping the streets of town open and legal for skateboarders. He understands skateboarders are cool, are doing a healthy activity, and if motorists keep their speed to 25 and below, everybody can be safe and happy.

At any rate, when the parade reaches the park, M&M will be greeted by folks bearing Hawaiian leis in honor of Mayor Jimmy’s favorite garb: Hawaiian shirts and sandals. Everyone is invited to wear similar garb to make the mayor feel at home and there will be plenty of leis for everyone to have one. The local homegrown sounds of the Shockley Brothers will add to the festivities. Bring a chair or a blanket and hang out for the ceremonies. Gov. Jack Markell will be on hand as will several other dignitaries who want to say nice things about Jim.

There will also be zumba and cannon blasts. Lots of Lewes flavor. No charge, of course. Just as free as the salty air that flows in off the bay and ocean in the spring. I hope to see you there. Formal ceremonies will start around 2:15 p.m.

They asked me to write a tribute to Mayor Jim for the program. I wrote about the day many years ago when former Mayor Al Stango hollered out: “Get him, Jimmy. He stole my money. I’ll get the gun.”

If you want to hear the rest of the story, you’ll have to snag a copy of the program at the event.

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