At year's end, honoring Greg Ferrese
As this year comes to an end, Greg Ferrese is wrapping up his 30-plus years as city manager in Rehoboth Beach. It’s a big job, and Ferrese has done it well. When he arrived, a young man in his 30s, Ferrese walked into a resort town that billed itself - and still does - as the Nation’s Summer Capital.
Its Boardwalk - an official Rehoboth Beach street - and its beaches provided the main attraction for the hundreds of thousands of visitors that rolled into town on the dual-lane Route 1 flanked by little more than a few strip commercial centers and fields of corn and soybeans.
Quietly, quickly, steadily and reliably, Ferrese learned to navigate the tricky waters of a town both urban and rural, with residential and business communities often struggling for primacy. But he understood almost immediately that the unique town with its stands of pines and oaks reaching nearly to the beach, and natural freshwater lakes, provided a beauty and quality of life that served as a common bond among those who may have otherwise disagreed.
He knew his job was to keep the city’s finances in solid shape, and its departments - including police, water, wastewater, streets, parks and recreation, lifeguards and parking - functioning smoothly to protect that beauty and quality of life. At the same time, Ferrese had to learn to work well with seven bosses - the mayor and six commissioners. He has done a lot of juggling through the years, and his even temperament and common sense served him and the city well.
Boardwalk projects, streetscape projects, beach replenishment and dune reconstruction, a new bridge and improved banks at Lake Gerar, the controversial but successful Rehoboth Avenue roundabout, Rehoboth Beach Museum, city hall and convention hall, purchase and repurpose of the former Wilmington Trust property and building - all of these and much more have come to fruition during Ferrese’s watch.
An even more important part of his legacy - because no one ever does it all by himself - are the dedicated and competent employees and department heads of Ferrese’s team, who love their town as much as their city manager does. Greg Ferrese capably weathered lots of natural and political storms through his three decades of service and is unquestionably leaving Rehoboth Beach a better town than when he arrived.