Rehoboth Beach to see public access dock next year
REHOBOTH BEACH — The canal bridging the Lewes and Rehoboth Beach will have a public dock constructed in the heart of Rehoboth, bringing with it a new wave of visitors to the city.
Last Friday, the Rehoboth Beach Commissioners voted to move forward on a $1.25 million new dock at Grove Park. Thompson and Sons Contracting Inc., of Milford, will construct the project in the spring. Within year, tourists and boaters would be able to dock within a 20-minute walk of the beach.
Development plans include a pier and a dock that accommodates two 30-foot pontoon boats, kayak/canoe launch and support for a water taxi. It’s been a long time coming, but according to Southern Tourism Executive Director Scott Thomas, it will be worth the wait.
“Bringing this infrastructure to Rehoboth not only creates safe and viable transportation, it’s also going to add another draw,” he told the Delaware Business Times. “People can boat down and then visit our restaurants and shops. This is really going to open up downtown.”
A 2011 feasibility study conducted by Delaware-based Landscape Architectural Services LLC and RK&K showed that a public dock could not only serve as the gateway to the city, but connect it to other towns like Lewes and Dewey Beach along southern Delaware’s inter-coastal waterway.
The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association spearheaded fundraising for the project, eventually seeing $1.07 million in donations and grants. Early estimates of the project put it around $850,000.
In January, three bids on the project came back, ranging between $1.25 million and $1.89 million. The Rehoboth Beach commissioners voted to accept the low bid.
The commissioners also agreed to commit $280,000 through a memorandum of understanding to cover the remaining cost. The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association will continue to raise funds, so it’s possible that the city could pay less of its share.
By Katie Tabeling
Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this story had incorrectly identified the firm that conducted the feasibility study. We regret the error.