South Bethany Canal Ends program awards

Members of the South Bethany Community Enhancement Committee prepare to present awards to participants in the town's Canal Ends Program, which encourages residents to 'adopt' a canal end and turn them into attractive gardens that enhance the community.

Earlier this month, South Bethany celebrated the 10th anniversary of its ongoing Canal Ends Program. It did this by recognizing the valuable contributions of the scores of owners who have stepped up to make the program so effective.

During the last 10 years, individual owners voluntarily spent a total of at least $30,000 of their own money creating beautiful gardens where road ends meet canals and canal ends meet roads. These people have also watered and weeded their attractive creations.

Each year, new areas are transformed and maintained by volunteers. Some original gardens are now being maintained by replacement volunteers.

In the first year, volunteers adopted six canal ends. The total has now reached 36. A few opportunities still remain for future volunteers.

The program was the brainchild of current Council Member and Community Enhancement Committee (CEC) head Sue Callaway, and former mayor Kathy Jankowski. Jankowski, along with Dennis and Sandi Roberts, created the first two canal-end gardens. They were among the owners recently recognized by the Town for their work.

These days, an evening cruise down the town’s canals is considerably more eye-pleasing than before. People using the Route 1 walking path have more to look at than the scrubby yews that once dominated.

The Canal Ends Project is actually the backbone of an ongoing effort by Sue Callaway’s CEC to attract buyers and renters, and improve the quality of life for owners. Municipal trash barrels on Ocean Drive are now hidden in painted containers that double as planters. The containers have even been decorated by skilled local artists. Ocean Drive itself is now a subtly-lit promenade.

A variety of plantings brighten the town’s section of the Coastal Highway. There is a popular workout area. Measured walking paths were just created. Placards near the town hall have historical photos that help chronicle South Bethany’s history.

The Town’s knowledgeable maintenance crew participates in strategic planning with the CEC. Crew members treat Town property like it’s their own.

The town gets better and better each year. The process Callaway and Jankowski started a decade ago, and others have joined, has made South Bethany a place that offers much more than a great little beach and deep-water canals. Too bad it’s not possible to have before-and-after shots showing how much South Bethany has been transformed so far.