Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kay Carnahan is proposing the city officially name the areas that are commonly known as Beach 1 and Beach 2 in Lewes.
Besides Roosevelt Inlet, they are the city’s only two public beach parking lots, and have gone by generic names for as long as many can remember.
Naming the beaches, Carnahan said, will likely make it easier for visitors to locate the one they seek. It’s also an opportunity to tell the story of Beach 2, which was a place where African Americans recreated before desegregation. Her proposal includes possibly naming the beach in honor of an African American individual.
“Beyond renaming the beach, perhaps we could have a plaque or a tri-panel educational sign erected to tell the story to beachgoers,” she said.
Carnahan will speak to the Lewes African American Heritage Commission next week about the idea, and she hopes to work with the commission to come up with a proposal.
“Rather than have this unspoken [history], let’s speak about it and learn from it,” she said.
After a proposal is developed, she said she would like to hold a public workshop for feedback, then send a recommendation to mayor and city council for consideration.
Carnahan has already asked the Lewes Historical Society to gather stories and photographs of the history. She hopes the commission will be supportive of the idea and provide direction.
As for naming Beach 1, Carnahan is suggesting Savannah Beach, an appropriate name, she believes, due to its location at the end of Savannah Road.
The city’s guarded beaches were designated as city parks earlier this year. At the same time, mayor and city council also increased the parks and recreation commission to include a new commissioner in charge of the beaches. Carnahan took on that role after spending 20 years as a member of the planning commission.
The Lewes African American Heritage Commission is set to meet at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 15.