Lewes to acquire Army Reserve property

National Defense Authorization Act expedites transfer
December 28, 2022

It appears the City of Lewes will be getting a municipal campus on Savannah Road. 

Sen. Chris Coons singled out a provision contained in the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act for particular praise after President Joe Biden signed the NDAA into law. The NDAA authorized the conveyance of the former Cape Henlopen U.S. Army Reserve Center site to the City of Lewes to be used as a new municipal campus. This will expedite the transfer of the facility to the city, allowing Lewes to eventually locate its city hall, police station and Board of Public Works at the site.

“Lewes has outgrown its current city hall, and the eventual transfer of the U.S. Army Reserve Center will enable the city to better meet the needs of its growing community,” said Coons. “The citizens of Lewes deserve a modern municipal campus that will serve them well, and today they are significantly closer to that goal.”

Mayor Andrew Williams and members of city council met with Coons, Sen. Tom Carper, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long over the summer to discuss their plans for the property if it were to come into their possession. Coons and Carper both toured the site, thanks to Murt Foos of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 17, who coordinated with the Army Reserve to gain access. 

“Five acres in the City of Lewes is hard to come by, period, let alone what you would pay for it, so it’s a big win for the city,” Williams said after the announcement was made Dec. 28.

City Manager Anne Marie Townshend said this is the first step in the process to relocate municipal services to the new site. Townshend said studies will be required before improvements can be made to the property. She specifically mentioned a space study to determine how the staff from city hall, BPW and the police department will coexist in the new location. Lewes will not need to pay to acquire the parcel, but it will have to foot the bill for studies and future construction, she said.

“Lewes now controls the development of that property,” said Williams, adding there are no deadlines for the property and, therefore, no rush from the city. Williams noted Lewes will be sensitive to the needs of the surrounding neighbors and businesses when it develops. He said there could be comprehensive engineering studies performed to produce high-level plans that would advise what they can divest out of and what they can invest into on the parcel. 

Townshend said the city is very aware of its need for a larger campus, and while this might not be the No. 1 priority, it is still a major one to check off. She expects the property transfer to happen in early 2023.

Williams said the existing city hall could be used in the future by Beebe Healthcare or any of the schools in the area. 

“It could be a wide-reaching flexibility that not just Lewes got from this award,” he said. “Our community partners could benefit from it too.”

The text of the Lewes legislation can be found in section 8377 of the NDAA available

A full list of Delaware’s victories in the FY2023 NDAA can be found at


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