Tom Roth stepping down as Henlopen Acres town manager

Discharging responsibility that’s been on his mind 24/7 for the past 19 years
May 19, 2023

Story Location:
Henlopen Acres Town Hall
104 Tidewaters
Henlopen Acres, DE 19971
United States

Henlopen Acres Town Manager Tom Roth said he knows the small oceanside town isn’t very big and, generally speaking, it doesn’t have some of the same issues as other towns. However it’s still been his job for the past 19 years to make sure the town has functioned appropriately.

“It’s something that’s been on my mind 24/7 for 20 years,” said Roth, having earned the right to round up. Well, in the not-to-distant future, Roth’s mind is going to have a lot of free time, because he recently announced he is retiring.

Sitting on 123 acres immediately north of Rehoboth Beach, Henlopen Acres was developed in the 1930s by Col. Wilbur S. Corkran. It was incorporated as a town in 1970. When Roth retires, he will have been the Acres’ longest-serving town manager.

During an interview in early May, Roth, 64, said he considered retiring a couple of years ago, but stayed on because he enjoys working with the staff. It’s a great group of people and they all get along, he said.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Roth began his career in the construction industry – working his way up from low-level computer operator to the company’s controller before moving south to Delaware. He said he ended up at Henlopen Acres because they were looking for a new town manager and his skills translated pretty easily.

Roth said one of the reasons he’s decided to retire is because the amount of work required for the job has increased tenfold since he began. There’s a lot more government reporting at every level, he said.

Roth said he knows it sounds cliché, but another reason he’s stepping down is because he wants to spend more time with his family, especially with his granddaughter Avery, at a family camp in northern Pennsylvania.

“It’s a real camp. There’s no running water. It’s just a hand pump off the back of the porch,” said Roth. “Avery loves it up there.”

Roth said a couple of the most important projects completed during his tenure were substantial improvements to the water treatment plant and the installation of an interconnection with Rehoboth Beach’s water system that could be used in case of an emergency. He’s also overseen the dredging of the town’s marina a couple of times, which he said is always going to be a problem until the canal gets dredged.

For the most part, Roth said the small town’s appearance hasn’t changed too much, but there’s been turnover in property ownership. The younger family members of the original buyers don’t want to, or can’t afford to, hold onto the properties anymore.

“It’s just a natural cycle,” he said.

Henlopen Acres doesn’t have a police force, but it does have paid security that also oversees the North Shores community immediately to the north. When President Joe Biden is in town, the Henlopen Acres staff provides whatever help it can to the Secret Service.

The Secret Service has always been great to deal with, said Roth. It’s not much different from when Biden was vice president, but they certainly have a larger presence.

Roth told the town he’ll stay on through the end of August to help with the transition. After that, and other than the whole time-with-family thing, Roth said he doesn’t have much planned besides volunteering more with his local Lions Club and the Boy Scouts, both of which he’s been involved with for decades.

“I’ve been working in an office setting for the past 45 years. It’s time to do something different,” said Roth.


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