Rehoboth Dock Study seeks grants

Rehoboth to pursue grants for dock study

Commissioners still on the fence on taxi

Photo by: File The Rehoboth Beach commissioners directed the city manager to pursue grant money for a geotechnical study of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bank at the Rehoboth Beach Museum. The site has previously been pegged by the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association for a proposed dock that could support a water taxi between Lewes and Rehoboth.

Rehoboth Beach — Plans for a water taxi between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach have not so much had the brakes put on them as the throttle has been pulled back.

Rehoboth officials have at least started to give this boat some gas by allowing City Manager Greg Ferrese to pursue $20,000 in grant money for a geotechnical study of the canal bank in front of the Rehoboth Beach Museum.

Commissioner Pat Coluzzi said the study would look into whether the bank could support a dock, as well as any underground infrastructure already in place at the site, such as pipes or wires.

The estimated cost of the study is $40,000, half of which Coluzzi hopes will come from a state Division of Parks and Recreation grant. The remaining $20,000 would be split between the city and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association, which has spearheaded the water taxi project.

The association, a nonprofit organization, has proposed a project that calls for a dock, estimated to cost $849,000, to be built at the museum that could support a kayak launch and a water taxi running between Rehoboth and Lewes. Under the association’s proposal, the water taxi itself would be run by a private entity, while the dock would be public land. A feasibility study, paid for with $25,000 in state grant money, was done for the site, but only determined whether the infrastructure to support a water taxi could be built there.

At the July 9 commissioners meeting, Coluzzi said the city could use the information gleaned from the study regardless of whether a water taxi is there or not. Coluzzi, who also is a member of the canal improvement association, said the association is looking to the city as a partner on the project to help secure grants for the dock.

Mayor Sam Cooper said the city or state will have to get involved with the project, since the association will not be able to do it on its own, and agreed that the geotechnical study could be useful.

Cooper said improvements to the canal bank could be a great thing for the city, but he had concerns about parking for the proposed water taxi and kayak launch. He said the study should be looked at as independent of the water taxi. Cooper said a dock at the museum could offer a great amenity to the city.

While he remained skeptical of whether a water taxi would work, Cooper said the study does offer the city a chance to have some input on the project.

Commissioners Stan Mills and Patrick Gossett said they support the concept of a dock at the museum, although they did not formally endorse the idea of a water taxi.