In the name of visual aesthetics, Rehoboth Beach officials installed two fountains near the bridge crossing Silver Lake a few years ago. Now, residents who live along the lake have formally asked commissioners to remove the fountains.
During a commissioner workshop Sept. 6, Mayor Stan Mills said complaints from neighbors are constant about moisture droplets that get pushed to their properties because of the wind. People either love them or hate them, he said.
Interim City Manager Evan Miller said the city spent $30,000 on the fountains, and while they help aerate the lake a little, they are primarily decorative.
Miller said the city has taken a number of measures to try to reduce the spray reaching the lakeside gazebos – they have both been moved, and a wind gauge has been installed to stop the fountains if the wind gets too strong.
Public Works Director Kevin Williams said the height of the fountains is not adjustable, and the city has also gone as far as changing the heads on the fountains multiple times so the spray is lower and narrower.
Silver Lake resident Francis Fabrizio attended the workshop. He said there have been instances where he can’t use his lakeside gazebo because of the spray coming off the fountains. He raised concerns about the lake water’s cleanliness because of the stormwater and animal excrement that runs into the lake.
“I think it’s awful,” he said.
Residents Tom Childers and John Hall, neighbors to Fabrizio, submitted a letter to commissioners in advance of the workshop and attended the meeting. They raised some of the same concerns brought forward by Fabrizio.
Hall said the problem with the wind gauge is that it was installed on a utility pole that deflects the wind from around the gauge. It’s never worked properly, he said.
One of the appeals of Silver Lake is its natural setting, said Childers. Those fountains are not natural and they detract from the lake’s natural aesthetics, he said.
Commissioner Jay Lagree tossed out the idea of moving the fountains to Lake Gerar.
Mills said he has no intention of moving the fountains and that he would fight hard to prevent that.
Commissioners discussed moving to other locations within Silver Lake, but ultimately, they couldn’t think of another location that would eliminate complaints. There have been a number of solutions tried that haven’t worked, said Commissioner Susan Gay.
Commissioners are expected to take a vote on the future of the fountains during their meeting Friday, Sept. 16.