Rehoboth addresses safety, accessibility with new project

August 25, 2023

Rehoboth Beach’s year-round population and summer visitors numbers continue to grow, which highlights the need for additional public safety and public accommodations.

City officials took a big step in addressing both issues by recently awarding a contract for a new beach patrol headquarters and comfort station at the Boardwalk end of Baltimore Avenue.

Regarding public safety, the current RBP headquarters is outdated, too small and doesn’t accommodate the needs of dedicated lifeguards tasked with overseeing the beach of the Nation’s Summer Capital. Among other things, there will be changing rooms for males and females, an appropriate amount of meeting space and a second-floor balcony on the Boardwalk so lifeguards can see from one end of the beach to the other.

As for public accommodations, the new structure will extend the city’s recent initiative to make the beach more accessible for all. New restrooms and family changing rooms will join dune crossing mats, more handicapped parking spaces around town and recent upgrades to the Delaware Avenue comfort station.

Concerns about being fiscally responsible with taxpayers' money are justified. However, it’s not just taxpayers balancing the city’s budget. A significant portion of annual revenue comes from visitor parking and hotel accommodations fees. Visitor needs should also be taken into account, and this project does that.

Could there have been more public engagement? Possibly, but this project has been years in the making. The design and estimated $5 million price tag are at least a year old. During earlier discussions for the current budget, city commissioners earmarked $2.4 million toward the project. Remaining costs should be included in next year’s budget.

Working with surrounding property owners who are in the planning stages of developing their own properties will be essential as all the projects move forward. The good news is, the city can now set the bar for the standard of design it would like to see.

When complete, the new structure will provide much-needed improvements in public safety and enjoyment of Rehoboth Beach’s bread and butter – the beach.

  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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