House will once again be home
The owners of Jane and Georgie’s boutique in Rehoboth Beach just hated the idea of tearing their building down. But they have outgrown the old house that’s been home to the store since it opened, and they’ve decided to build a new store, with more space for merchandise and fitting rooms.
Still, their original building has stood on Rehoboth Avenue, just off what is now the traffic circle, since about 1901. For years, customers have come into the store to tell stories of the days when the house was a home.
While not exactly a landmark, the building offers a glimpse into Rehoboth’s history, prompting George Chambers, co-owner of Jane and Georgie’s, to recycle the building instead of demolishing it.
Chambers said it was Steve Kordek of Rehoboth Beach Building and Licensing Department who first suggested moving the house instead of wrecking it. Once he heard the building was available, Kevin McKinney, project director for the Coalition for West Rehoboth, quickly offered to move it to West Rehoboth, where it will once again become a home.
Still, moving a house costs money. Delmarva Power offered to reduce the cost of raising the power lines, but the coalition still had to raise $10,000 to prepare utility lines for the 1.5 mile journey from Rehoboth Avenue to Norwood Street.
It’s been less than two months since the building became available, but the funds have been raised; the house is expected to be moved Tuesday, Feb. 19.
In an age when just about everything we buy is cheaper to replace than it is to repair, it’s heartening to know we live in a community willing to finance this project. Start with an interested owner, add a helpful city employee and a utility company willing to reduce its costs, fold in a motivated housing coalition and top with contributions from the community.
This is a recipe for creatively preserving the past while developing affordable housing for the future – one that relies on citizens working together to solve community problems.