Group behind Rehoboth canal dock dissolving

Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association spearheaded construction of amenity behind museum
December 23, 2022

Story Location:
Grove Park Canal Dock
Grove Park
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

The group that spearheaded the construction of the canal dock in Rehoboth Beach has announced its plans to dissolve by the end of the year.

In a Dec. 12 letter sent to supporters, Rehoboth Beach officials and the Delaware Community Foundation, the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association’s board of directors announced the association was dissolving and that a charitable fund called The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Fund has been established.

The letter says the fund will be administered by the Delaware Community Foundation, and used to maintain and enhance the appearance and functionality of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.

The association’s most visible contribution to the canal was getting the dock behind the Rehoboth Beach Museum constructed. That project was first proposed over a decade ago, but discussions stalled before being reignited again in 2018. It was ready for use in May 2021.

The LRCIA raised about $1 million for the project. Rehoboth Beach contributed nearly $300,000 and also took over control of the project once construction began in April 2020.

The LRCIA’s letter to supporters says the association has ensured government entities such as the city are eligible to apply for grants from the fund. In addition to establishing the fund, the letter also says LRCIA is contributing $8,000 to the city toward the future maintenance of the dock.

The dock has been completed, but its operation hasn’t been all smooth sailing. A water taxi service from Lewes was delayed a year because contract details weren’t ironed out in time for 2021. The city has awarded a contract for a kayak rental service, but nothing has taken shape to date because there’s not an easy way to get kayaks up and down the bank of the canal and there’s limited parking for customers.

From the beginning, LRCIA had plans for a kayak launch adjacent to the dock, but it wasn’t built after costs got too high.

Following the meeting, Mayor Stan Mills said the city is grateful to LRCIA, its members and supporters for helping the city to realize the goal of developing the canal as a second Rehoboth waterfront. The city is sorry that LRCIA won’t be able to help make the kayak launch a reality, but, again, he said, the city does appreciate the association providing the community with the much-anticipated dock.

At a commissioner meeting Dec. 16, during the city manager’s report, Commissioner Patrick Gossett asked Interim City Manager Evan Miller to provide commissioners a breakdown of the city’s costs to maintain and operate the dock. Miller is expected to provide that report at the next commissioner workshop.


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