Kill the state park restaurant idea now

October 31, 2022

The following letter was sent to Gov. John Carney, Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens, Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, Sen. Ernie Lopez and Rep. Steve Smyk with a copy provided to the Cape Gazette for publication. 

This letter is written to protest, in the strongest way possible, the proposal by Cape Henlopen State Park to permit construction of a 6,000-square-foot oceanfront restaurant on a site near the Hawk Watch.

The people of Delaware love Cape Henlopen State Park. It’s the most popular park in the system. Where else can we all ride bikes on miles of trails past a natural wonder like Gordons Pond, walk those same trails, as well as ones wending through the woods, go camping, visit the Seaside Nature Center and, above all, sit on a beach, listening to the waves and soaking up the sun? Why diminish that experience, until 10 p.m. at night no less?

The park responds that it wants the revenue, will not have to pay to construct the restaurant and will own the building at the end of 25 years. It also points out that the campers would like a restaurant. 

To respond to these points: certainly the state of Delaware can easily replace the potential revenue from a different source; the residual value of the building will probably not be worth much after weathering 25 years of battering by the elements; campers can go out to eat either at the nearby Grain restaurant at the ferry terminal or the park could provide a smaller, pub-like eatery in the campgrounds; and the location of the restaurant would be in the Atlantic migratory flyway. Why go to the extreme measure of blocking off a portion of the park’s beach for much of the year to promote ground-nesting birds only to plant a major source of light and noise nearby?

Everywhere we go in eastern Sussex County there are homes under construction, streets clogged with traffic, parking nonexistent and amenities shriveling under the sheer weight of overuse.

Please don’t do this to the park. Kill this idea now.

Janice Erich
  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number and address for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Letters should be responsive to issues addressed in the Cape Gazette rather than content from other publications or media. Only one letter per author will be published every 30 days. Letters restating information and opinions already offered by the same author will not be used. Letters must focus on issues of general, local concern, not personalities or specific businesses.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter