South Bethany’s Community Enhancement Committee is currently hosting its 3rd Annual Adopt-A-Canal/Road End Beauty Contest, running through Sept. 2.
The contest was created to help spur community spirit and recognize those families who adopted canal ends.
“The first year we had six, then we had 13 last year, and now we have 20 this year. I think the growth of it is just very exciting,” said Councilwoman and CEC Chairwoman Sue Callaway.
“The Town owns all these canal ends but did not have all the funds or manpower to landscape and maintain them. We thought that was just a great way to start getting the community members involved,” she said, adding that the idea was originally created by the South Bethany Property Owners Association.
“One thing we notice — this is a seasonal community. There are some of us are down here fulltime and others that love South Bethany and come as often as they can but have a home elsewhere. We wanted to create a way that, when they were down here, they felt there was more of a community they were coming to.”
The town has 48 canal and road ends, and over the last three years nearly half have been adopted by residents who want to take an active role in the community and help beautify the town.
“People see the difference. They see the landscape difference, they like it and they want to be a part of it. It’s one of those things — the canal ends are just sort of there. You know they’re there, and you perhaps don’t really like what it looks like, but you ignore it. Now, they say, ‘We can do something about that,’ and we have.”
Callaway said the beauty contest has been a fun way to get the word out about the adoption program, while recognizing those who have adopted the canal and street ends and the work they’ve put into beautifying them.
“Six and 48 is a big gap,” explained Callaway of the number of canals that were adopted the first year. “So, we thought the contest would be a way to reward the folks involved and then to also market it and get the word out about it, and really engage folks. And a contest is fun!”
South Bethany residents may vote online for their top five favorite canal or street ends, or they may print out a score card and turn it in to town hall.
“The first year, we just did it by people walking around and looking at the canal ends. We had fairly limited participation, but some. Last year was remarkably different because of the online participation,” she said. “They can print out a scoring form and walk around — they’re all labeled as to where they are located. Then they can drop off their forms at town hall or they can go back home and vote online.”
The adopter whose canal or street end gets the most votes will receive a $100 gift certificate to Lord’s Landscaping, to help fund the maintenance of their canal or street end.
“Last year and this year, Lord’s Landscaping is giving a $100 gift certificate, which is so generous of them,” said Callaway, adding that she’s proud to see the program grow and hopes more residents will consider adopting a canal end and getting a little more involved in their community.
“It has been something we’ve dedicated ourselves to and has really grown,” she said. “I had an adopt thank-you party in July for all the adopters, and one of the comments that some of the adopters stated was how they appreciated the opportunity, that they felt a more a part of the community through this. That’s exactly what we hoped to accomplish, so that really felt good.”
To vote online or print out a score card, visit www.southbethany.org. If there are any problems voting, contact Administrative Assistant Pam Smith at (302) 539-3653, ext. 219, or firstname.lastname@example.org.