As word began circulating throughout the community earlier this week regarding $3 million in federal money heading this way for the Bethany Beach and South Bethany beach projects, a collective joy and optimism washed over local residents and officials.
A healthy beach around here means a healthy community.
We are dependant on our beaches. Like a small town crippled by the closing of a factory, our region could have been choked by a diminished beach line.
A beach without a beach is also a beach without vacationers. And those vacationers visit our restaurants and shops, rent our resort properties, promote our community and quite often become permanent residents, providing a boon to our real estate and building industries.
And those are just the economic benefits of our beaches being strong. Add in the environmental additions supplied by a healthy beach, the aesthetic quality of a pretty shoreline and the general pride in community a project of this magnitude can provide and you can understand the good feelings created by this news.
Both South Bethany and Bethany Beach officials credited the general public, as well as the efforts of a Washington lobbyist, for getting the federal money approved. Bethany Beach Mayor Jack Walsh said that more than 1,200 direct responses were made to legislators through Internet links to push for the money.
“All that stuff helped,” said Walsh.
There’s no doubt it did. And there’s very little doubt that the town officials left out important factors when spreading credit for the federal dollars — themselves.
It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a baby. It certainly took a community to save the people.