Epworth seeks land for new cemetery
Rehoboth Beach — Discussions are ongoing between state legislators, Rehoboth Little League and Epworth United Methodist Church on a land swap deal that would provide a site for a new church cemetery.
The growing church, which moved from Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth Beach to its Holland Glade Road location in March 2008, wants to build a new cemetery near the new church.
According to Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach and Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, Epworth owns the land where the Little League fields are now located. Under the deal, the church would swap that land for open space across from the church on Holland Glade Road, currently owned by the state.
Lopez said Epworth's cemetery, on Henlopen Avenue in Rehoboth Beach, will soon reach capacity. Schwartzkopf said the deal would enable Epworth to build a new cemetery across the street from the new church while preserving the Little League fields.
The Little League field would come under the administration of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which Schwartzkopf said would use the land to make improvements to the access ways to the baseball fields.
“We didn’t want to see the Little League have to go,” Lopez said. “Both sides are happy.”
Because the land the state is giving up is zoned open space, the deal would require an act of the General Assembly to redesignate it, Lopez said. Both Lopez and Schwartzkopf said they expect the legislation formalizing the swap to be introduced and approved before the General Assembly breaks on Monday, June 30.
Epworth’s head pastor, The Rev. Vicki Starnes, declined to discuss the negotiations because she said she did not want to jeopardize them.