Beach Replenishment Efforts Complete For Some Towns, Others Wait - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Beach Replenishment Efforts Complete For Some Towns, Others Waiting

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SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - The $11 million beach replenishment efforts in Dewey and Rehoboth are complete; now Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island are wondering when it's their turn. 

The three towns were set to have their own replenishment projects this year, but now that's been delayed due to a lack of federal funding. Bethany Beach Mayor Jack Gordon said they were "extremely disappointed" when they found out.

"We were supposed to be replenished this year," he said. "We are hoping we don't have any nor'easters that will significantly come up here and possibly damage the boardwalk."

Gordon met with South Bethany Mayor Pat Voveris and Fenwick Island Mayor Gene Langan on Thursday to discuss myriad issues, beach replenishment chief among them. The three officials say they understand that Rehoboth and Dewey's beach replenishment projects were budgeted first, but felt it was a shame that their towns could not be incorporated in recent operations.

"It would've saved a million and a half dollars in bringing the equipment back," said Voveris. "So in a time when you have a budget shortfall, why wouldn't you want to save that million and a half dollars?"

DNREC Shoreline and Waterway Management Administrator Tony Pratt says DNREC was hoping the southern towns would get funding too, and they're optimistic that the work will be done as soon as possible.

"The overlap of the federal budgets with the continuing resolutions that they operate under make it very distant between when the money is appropriated and when the work can take place," he told WBOC. "I've been told that Bethany and South Bethany is one of [the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers- Philadelphia District's] top priorities for their whole district which includes New Jersey and Delaware." 

Pratt says the Rehoboth and Dewey beach replenishment projects were concluded very quickly and successfully.

"The beach is beautiful, it's nice and wide. It's very storm ready," he said. "We are happy with the quality of the sand. It will make a nice shallow slope coming into next summer so overall we're really tickled to death."

Gordon, Voveris and Langan say they're hoping to start a commission with Delaware's other beach towns so they can have a united voice in issues that affect all of them, such as beach replenishment.

"The tourist business in Delaware is worth about 6 billion dollars and they aren't here to see National Parks, they're here to come to the beach," Gordon told WBOC. "It employs some 60,000 people, which is 10 percent of the workforce in the state. So it's very important to all of us."

Pratt says they should know this spring if Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island get federal funding. If they do, he says the replenishment should begin next summer or fall. 
 

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