A crowd of more than 100 clapped when Gov. John Carney shared his plan to invest $50 million to clean up local waterways.
In a town hall meeting Feb. 4 at the Lewes Fire Department – the first of several planned statewide – Carney went over his proposed budget for fiscal year 2021 before taking questions from the audience.
His clean water initiative, which will provide $50 million in loans and funds to improve stormwater runoff, drinking water and other water woes, was well-received by the crowd. Although no one commented about the initiative during a question-and-answer session, Lewes resident Eul Lee said before the meeting that source water must be protected.
“If we do not diligently protect our water source, what's the point of funding infrastructure to improve the water quality?” Lee asked.
Specifically, Lee questioned the construction of a Royal Farms on Route 1 near the Seaside Outlets that was built close to a public water well. “Accidents do happen, and even the accumulations of drip-drip add up to significant amounts of fuel spill,” Lee said, quoting a 2014 Johns Hopkins study.
Lee said water should be tested for petroleum and other contaminants in an effort to ensure drinking water is safe.
During the town hall meeting, residents also raised traffic concerns.
“We have a problem down here. Our roads will not sustain an increase in population,” one Lewes man said. “If I get a heart attack. I'll never make it to Beebe.”
A resident off Minos Conaway Road said pending road work at the Minos Conaway and Route 1 intersection will force several neighborhoods onto Route 9. A traffic light is needed there, she said.
“Trying to get out on Route 9 will be impossible,” she said.
Carney encouraged residents to share their traffic concerns with Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan, who told residents that they are welcome to attend transportation workshops held in the area.