Bethany bandstand dedication set

It was a long time coming, but final work on the Bethany Beach bandstand was completed this past week — just in time for the annual Boardwalk Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9.

With the often-delayed project finally finished, town officials were ready to celebrate the new facility with a dedication ceremony set for Sunday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m. The event will include a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, concert by the Delmarva Big Band and solo performance by John Pollard of the Cole Younger Band, singing his original song “My Bethany.”

As usual for special events in the town, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner has been invited, and state Sen. George Howard Bunting and Rep. Gerald Hocker invited to speak. The public is also invited, of course.

Events Coordinator Gloria Farrar reveled in the project at a Sept. 12 meeting of the town’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Committee (CHAC), saying that once benches were removed from the bandstand area it looked big enough to even potentially host dance events, as well as more passive concerts.

Also at the Sept. 12 CHAC meeting, committee members questioned the future plans of the Bethany Beach Historical Association through CHAC member and BBHA Secretary Margaret Young.

Young clarified that — contrary to rumor — she had not instructed BBHA members not to serve as docents during the summer of 2006, in the wake of the formal removal from the BBHA of any authority for running the town museum. She said she had told individual members to do as they pleased in that regard and simply hadn’t worked to organize a docent schedule as she had done in the past.

Committee members were critical of Young’s lack of movement on a number of issues related to the BBHA and its relationship with the town. Young said scheduling conflicts had kept her from being able to organize a BBHA meeting at which issues such as the dispersal of BBHA funds, future plans and docent service could be discussed by members.

But CHAC members pressed her to hold a meeting in the coming weeks and make a decision as to whether funds from the BBHA would be donated toward museum projects, such as the planned historical mural that is now estimated to cost some $7,000.

Young said BBHA members were considering reviving their historical walking tour brochure, as an independent project, but she was unable to commit the group to further service as docents at the museum or to handing over the funding that was, at least in part, collected to serve the museum’s needs. All of those issues would need to be discussed by BBHA members, she said.

BBHA and CHAC member Jane Fowler questioned whether the BBHA had any remaining purpose left to serve, implying the group should consider dissolution. “What can they do that we can’t do [via CHAC]?” she asked.

“If you want to be part of the museum,” Mayor and CHAC Chairwoman Carol Olmstead admonished Young before temporarily tabling the issue, “it would be nice to cooperate.”

CHAC members also contemplated their planned oral-history project on Sept. 12, deciding to seek help from interested townsfolk in the technical aspects involved in using their own equipment to record interviews for future replay on the museum’s computer kiosk.

With the resignation of Jeri Walsh from CHAC in the wake of her husband’s resignation from the town council, the committee is lacking a computer expert and is now seeking a tech-savvy citizen who would be able to help them with the project.

Committee members also moved forward on their historical marker project, drafting a letter to property owners that will request their permission for the placement of a historical marker at certain properties in the town. The bronze markers will display information about the history of the structures or properties.