Moving into its third year, the South Bethany Adopt-A-Canal/Road End program is currently looking for residents who want to help enhance the town’s beauty and water quality, while working together with neighbors.
“We wanted to see some improvement on the landscaping on the canal ends in South Bethany,” explained Councilwoman Sue Callaway, chair of the Community Enhancement Committee (CEC). “The idea came when we were pretty fiscally tight, as most of us were. We thought this was a good opportunity to get people involved in community improvement and volunteerism.”
Of the town’s 45 canal and road ends, Callaway said that 14 have been adopted, with four in other stages of the adoption process. She said the Adopt-A-Canal/Road End program is a great way to promote community enhancement, volunteerism and friendly interaction among neighbors.
“When you have a seasonal community like this, sometimes you need a reason to sort of run into each other and see each other. That’s been really been a plus. And it’s a benefit financially to the Town and to the community.”
Callaway said the adoption process is easy — requiring those interested to fill out an application, as well as submit a design plan and conduct a site visit with the CEC.
“They come up with a design or a plan for the canal or road end. It can be a hand drawing, it can be a computer drawing, or if they hook up with a nursery, it could be something they draw. We just want to know what you’re planting, and we encourage native plants.
“We may have some suggestions, like eliminating some plants that might be too big because we want to make sure we continue to have unobstructed views of the canal,” explained Callaway, noting that, as a perk, any adopted canal end with an existing juniper tree would have the tree removed free of charge by the Town.
“We encourage them at that time, as they’re thinking about it, to talk to their neighbors to see if anyone would be interested in getting involved in what they’d like to do. The idea also is to entice people to perhaps sit at the canal end with a bench… just make it more appealing so people want to come and hang out there.”
Once the application is approved, the adopter can begin to rejuvenate the canal or road end that they’ve selected.
“They have to make a commitment for a year to take care of and maintain the canal—that includes watering and weeding. At the end of that year, if they like it and are interested in continuing, which all of them have so far, we ask them to make a two year commitment. It seems to work very well.”
Earlier this month the CEC sent out nearly 40 letters to targeted residents, with information regarding the adoption program.
“What we did this year — we sent out letters to people who lived adjacent or near canal ends that we would really like adopted, just to see if we can get people interested,” explained Callaway. “So far, our response has been a little mixed. We haven’t gotten a lot of ‘Yes, I really want to do it!’ Our plan is to just familiarize people with it.”
For the last two years, the CEC has held an Annual Adopt-A-Canal/Road-End Beauty Contest, in which residents vote on which canal end they believe to be the most beautiful.
“In August we had an Adopt-A-Canal/Road-End Beauty Contest, which was fun. All of the canals that had been adopted are numbered, and last year we did online voting,” said Callaway. “It’s just cute. It’s just fun. Last year, the winner got a $100 gift certificate to Lord’s Landscaping.”
Callaway said that those interested in adoption do not have to choose a canal near their property, or even on their street.
“If your property isn’t adjacent to one or there isn’t one on your street that you’re interested in, you can choose another one. But, generally, it’ll be the people surrounding that end, except for the ones along Route 1,” she said. “They’re a little longer and wider than most of the canal ends, so the more involvement the better with those.”
Callaway added that, now that spring has sprung, it is the perfect time to get involved in beautifying the town, and she said she hopes more residents will want to get involved.
“It’s the perfect time of year. Now is the time to get interested. People are starting to come back down. It’s the perfect time to start planning and planting, before the hot summer and everyone wants to go to the beach,” she said.
“It really has worked,” she said of the program thus far. “We’re pretty proud of it.”
For more information on adopting a canal or road end, visit the Town’s Web site at www. southbethany.org or call Town Hall at (302) 539-3653.