Walking to the ocean just got easier in Dewey Beach, thanks to newly installed walkway access mats. “We started talking about it in September, when people would ask about the mat on Dagsworthy Street and wanted one on their own street,” said Dewey Beach Town Commissioner Paul Bauer. “We want to make it as easy as possible for young and old alike to access our award-winning beach.”
Town Council assembled a committee to research options and raise funds to purchase and install access mats on 17 Dewey streets at an estimated cost of $100,000. Mats were purchased through AccessRec of New Jersey. Dewey allocated $35,000 in town funds toward the mats. Town Manager Scott Koenig secured $29,000 with help from Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf and Sen. Ernie Lopez through state discretionary transportation funding.
To raise the remaining $30,000, the committee created the Adopt-A-Dune sponsorship program for families and businesses to sponsor mats to honor loved ones or support businesses. Small panels at the beginning of each mat display a family name, message or business logo. “The donations we received were outstanding,” Bauer said. “I’ve never seen the community respond the way they did.”
In all, 56 individuals and 13 businesses adopted dunes. Bauer also credited the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce and Dewey Beach Lions for supporting the initiative.
Bauer said the mats make crossing Dewey’s soft sand much easier. Any sand tracked onto the mats trickles through its slip-resistant, permeable structure. During the winter or forecasted storms, mats will be stored in sheds to extend their longevity. m“Whether you’re pulling wagons or beach chairs, or have a kid in your arms, the last thing you want to do is plow through a 150-foot sand dune,” Bauer said. “These mats help everyone access the beach easier. I can even walk on the mats in my dress shoes!”