Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.
Bethany Beach parking rate increased
Bethany’s paid parking is in effect from May 15 through Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the commercial area and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in other metered parking areas, and now costs $2 per hour, with a 50-cent transaction fee added to credit card purchases. (The increased fee will help pay for acquisition by the Town of the previously unpaved lots on Garfield Parkway that have been used for municipal parking for the last few years.)
Motorists can pay at centralized pay stations, with MasterCard, VISA, Discover (AMEX not accepted) or quarters, then display time receipt on dashboard with expiration time showing. In locations where meters remain, motorists must pay with quarters. Alternatively, motorists can pay by phone with Parkmobile by installing the application on a smartphone or by calling 1-877-727-5758. Parking zone numbers are located on every pay station and single meter, as well as on signs.
Parking is limited to two hours at a time on Garfield Parkway, but motorists may park more than two hours with a new pay station time receipt or Parkmobile session; all other pay parking spaces are unrestricted.
Longer-term parking in pay-to-park spaces (not on Garfield or in resident permit areas) can be purchased with a one-day pass for $27, three-day pass for $79 or seven-day pass for $183, which can be purchased at the police department on the east side of town hall at any time.
Bethany reworks trolley routes, eliminates stops
The town trolley no longer stops at the Lake Bethany entrance or the South Coastal Library, and the route is now divided into two shorter routes, north and south. A map of the routes is available online at http://www.townofbethanybeach.com/DocumentCenter/View/2036.
Trolleys run from the Friday before Memorial Day through mid-September, continuously between 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (The last pick-up on Atlantic and Garfield is at 9:45 p.m.) The trolley leaves location #1 on the half-hour starting at 9:30 a.m.
There may be little or no service daily 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (approximate times), due to driver breaks.
Riders can flag down the trolley anywhere along the route for pick-up or discharge, except on Route 26, Route 1 and Jefferson Bridge Road. The trolley fare is $.25 each way. The driver does not make change.
• Bethany Beach added e-cigarettes to its ban on smoking on the beach, boardwalk, bandstand and parks in 2014. Smoking of any kind is permitted in those areas only in specified locations.
• Movies will again be shown on the beach off Garfield Parkway on Monday nights at dusk, starting June 15 with “Happy Feet.” Every Wednesday in July is kids’ night, with activities at town hall and at the bandstand. Bonfires will be held on the beach on Thursdays, starting June 11, at dusk off Campbell Place. Marshmallows and sticks will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Bonfires only will continue in September, with no snacks or sticks provided.
Fenwick opens new park, renovating existing one
Fenwick Island’s Cannon Street Park, located on W. Cannon Street next to the Public Works facility, is now open and offers a canoe/kayak launch, picnic area and walkways. The park also offers a pick-up basketball court and public benches, and is accessible via ADA-compliant sidewalk from town hall. A kayak/canoe launch map is available online at http://www.fenwickisland.org/DocumentCenter/View/2517.
The park at town hall is also being renovated, with two older toys removed, to be replaced with new equipment. Further renovations to the park are being considered.
Route 26 shifts to nighttime lane closures only
To accommodate summer traffic from May 15 to Sept. 30, lane closures for the Route 26 improvements project will now occur only from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday night to Friday morning, with the lane closure period starting two hours later than last summer. Lane shifts may take place when roadwork occurs during weekdays.
The 2.5-year project will expand a 4-mile stretch of Route 26, from Bethany Beach to Clarksville. Crews will add sidewalks, clearer entrances and exits, center turn lanes, and water and sewer pipes. The official end-date is the late summer of 2016. Drivers are being encouraged to use back roads to avoid lane closures.
Indian River Inlet area revamped
Delaware Seashore State Park has entered the modern age with new amenities, including electrical, water and sewer hook-ups for RVs. After years of construction and renovation, the entire park is ready for action at Indian River Inlet. Although divided by an entire inlet, the two halves are connected by an ADA-accessible Route 1 bridge.
Both sides feature single-day beach parking. The northern campground has 80 new paved RV parking spots, plus bathing and laundry facility. Southside renovations were completed in 2014, with many of the same amenities, including tent camping zones.
Anglers get their own parking spots near the jetty, and the pedestrian pathway was moved back several feet to give the anglers room to fish. Visitors can use the new playground, bonfire nights, pavilions and a small outdoor amphitheater hosting music and storytelling programs.
Some of these amenities were lost for years while the new Indian River Inlet Bridge was under construction. Reservations can be made at 1-877-88-PARKS or www.destateparks.com.
Harris Teeter near Bethany Beach closed
Harris Teeter grocery store located in Bethany Beach closed permanently on Feb. 24, just shy of its four-year anniversary. Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. said it was leaving the Salt Pond Plaza “only after careful consideration … and strategic market review.” At the time, the market employed 39 associates at that location. The Harris Teeter location off Route 54 in West Fenwick continues to operate.
Assawoman Canal Trail set to debut
The Assawoman Canal Trail is slated to open in mid-June, following a delay in construction due to the cold winter. The trail, which is mostly completed, will physically link three municipalities and six communities, running from Route 26 to the Ocean View Marina, with 5,200 feet of trail.
The trail itself is designed to be 8 feet wide, and is designed to be suitable for bicyclists and pedestrians. While the crushed stone trail is mostly completed, the Town Road bridge and restroom have yet to be installed. A ribbon-cutting event is anticipated to be held in July.
For more information regarding the trail, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/parks/Information/Pages/Assawoman-Canal-Tr....
James Farm to get added parking, more facilities
The Center for the Inland Bays is currently fundraising to do major work at James Farm Ecological Preserve in Ocean View. The CIB’s Master Plan will be constructed in two to three major phases, to include increasing parking capacity and improved storage facilities, provide a flexible open area for special events, and improve educational areas. For more information about the Master Plan or to donate, visit www.inlandbays.org.