Sandy Relief Denied to Sunset Park - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sandy Relief Denied to Sunset Park


 DEWEY BEACH, Del. - When many people think about Dewey Beach they visualize bars, restaurants, and the beach. But just a couple blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip is a secluded wetland area on the bay. Sunset Park, as it's called, nestled on the end of Dagsworthy Street was damaged severely by Superstorm Sandy, and now as it continues to erode away, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays continues to look for funding to make repairs. 

The center requested $418,000 from the federal government through the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program. In the end, through this program, the federal government gave out 54 grants, valued at $102 million, but Sunset Park was not on the list. 

Bartholomew Wilson, from the Center for Inland Bays explained that Superstorm Sandy left its mark on Dewey Beach's bay. 

"The way this park is positioned," he said. "Any time you would have waves coming out of the southwest across the bay, those waves would batter the coast along here. And it eroded all the sand out of here. It's broken up the tip of the road... The roads kinda collapsing." 

Wilson said that they have not formulated a plan to try and find the funding elsewhere. He said if the money doesn't come through, the erosion will continue to wipe away the sand and wetland area. 

"If we can't find the funding, then I think that as time goes on this park is going to get smaller and smaller," he said. "It's not going to be the type of thing where next year there's suddenly no park. It's just that every year, the shoreline is going to get eroded further and further back. It's a continual movement."

This erosion is bad news for visitors and locals alike who enjoy the area, like Sean Parker who came to Dewey Beach with his family. 

"You could just walk off the road and you don't feel like you're in Dewey Beach," he said. "There is that nature aspect and it is quiet. And you can see that it hasn't been trampled over."

Bartholomew told WBOC that he felt Delaware was underrepresented with the federal money, falling far below many other states such as New York and New Jersey. Of the 54 grants given out, 24 of them, amounting to $50 million was given to New York and New Jersey alone. Delaware received just three of the grants, valued at $11.5 million in total. 

"It was disappointing that we didn't get the grant," Wilson said. "I think a lot of people were very excited to see something happen here. To see some restoration of the beach, the wetlands. I think people wanted that."

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