On a day nice enough for a kayak ride down the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, Rehoboth Beach officials and others celebrated the completion of the city’s new Grove Park Canal Dock.
Mayor Stan Mills said the project represented a decade-long journey to bring a second waterfront to the city. It took much perseverance, he said.
The idea for the dock was first discussed in 2011. Progress toward completion was made over the years, but it really picked up steam in the last few years. It was structurally complete in January.
The Lewes Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association raised the $1.25 million for the project, which received funding from a number of different sources including Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the General Assembly’s Bond Bill, Community Transportation Funds from Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, and Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, the City of Rehoboth Beach, private donations and nonprofit foundations.
During the ceremony, Southern Delaware Tourism Executive Director Scott Thomas said the canal was built 100 years ago to ship goods from the area’s local farms. Now, with the completion of this dock, the canal can be used to move people from Lewes to Rehoboth to Dewey.
Schwartzkopf recognized not everyone in the community is a fan of the new dock. However, he said, he guarantees they’ll be some of the first people to come down and use it.
Following the ceremony, Lynne Coan, city spokeswoman, said the dock is not yet open for public use. She said there are still a few safety issues to work out before it’s fully open.