State park restaurant idea smells bad

October 31, 2022

Following the news of the proposed construction of a restaurant at Cape Henlopen State Park, I have to ask aloud if this project is being fast-tracked for some reason. According to your recent article by Ron MacArthur, La Vida's contract to operate the McBride concessions for a year with option to build a new restaurant was awarded this past spring. A final decision to construct the new restaurant will be made by Dec. 31. I didn't think things moved that fast in the public sector.

What happened to public participation regarding this project? A public workshop was held in June when the idea of a new restaurant was first floated. Since it was one item in a laundry list of other park improvements, I think it's safe to say that many observers missed the impact of what was really being proposed. To my way of thinking, public land, not to mention that it's a state park, is being impacted. Why is DNREC not planning to conduct formal public hearings, environmental assessments and/or impact statements?

Mr. MacArthur did note that a public presentation of the project will be held Nov. 3 at the Killens Pond Nature Center at 9:30 a.m. I wonder how the turnout is going to be at 9:30 on a Thursday morning at a site about 40 miles away from the project location? C'mon, DNREC. Is public input really what you want? This has an odor about it.

Paul Oberle


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