Without a doubt, this is the busy time of year for us.
Businesses, shops and restaurants are more busy than at any other time of the year. Residents find themselves entertaining company much more than in the winter. And town and local officials are constantly on edge, trying to make sure they are providing visitors a memorable experience that will make them come back again and keep their towns vibrant and strong.
Which is what makes the dune situation in South Bethany so troubling.
Some Town officials and residents are frustrated that the dune on the beach has not been repaired since Hurricane Sandy rolled by last fall, and there are concerns with how steep some of the beach walks are right now. The town has been using Mobi Mats the past few years to help with accessibility to the beach, but they are unable to utilize them now until the dunes are repaired.
And those dunes will not be repaired by the Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) until they are able to replenish the sand on the beach that was washed away by Sandy.
South Bethany Town Manager Mel Cusick said at last week’s public meeting that he has spoken with DNREC officials, and the problem is on their radar. He said DNREC told him they would make some temporary repairs, but that the major work just could not get done without the replenishment getting done first.
And there is no definitive timeline on that.
A healthy tourist season at the beach is good for the entire state of Delaware. It brings people crossing those toll booths upstate, keeps businesses thriving, and ensures that Delaware is on the mind of people who might not have any other dealings with the state except coming down here during the summer.
It’s time for the State to step up here and get the beach fixed. We know how much they have on their plate, and we completely respect that. Every project is important to somebody, just like every single story we write here is important to somebody.
But the State can not promote itself through having beautiful beaches and dream vacation spots without doing all they can to ensure that these are beautiful beaches and vacation spots. The Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner, and that might be the most important holiday of the year for this community.
People not enjoying their time at the beach because they simply can not access it can result in them not returning the next year, and that can impact a town’s economy for several years.
We all have to be at our best right now.