Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/919040

More thoughts on Rehoboth 'sister cities' park

By Michael Bednarek | Nov 08, 2012

A letter that I wrote to the Cape Gazette, published Oct. 10, concerning the proposed use of public land for a park dedicated to dedicated to our "sister city" - the town of Greve in Chianti, Italy -  has evidently been mistaken as opposition to the concept of improving city parks.  To the contrary, I simply suggest that the city defer a final decision to allow an opportunity for further public input.

As explained in my original letter, my principal concern is with the process, not with the value of improving public land.  The "sister cities" program seems to be a pet project of a small group of citizens.  I suspect that most citizens were unaware of (much less support) the "sister cities" program - which is evidently focused on a single city with only the most remote connection to Rehoboth Beach.  Commissioner Pat Coluzzi is both the leader of the sisters cities program and the person spearheading the effort to rush the project through in the off season.

I've read the follow-up suggesting that the sisters cities group would pay most of the initial landscaping cost, but that misses the mark since the cost of land acquisition would greatly exceed the cost of landscaping - and the proposal seems to call for Rehoboth Beach to allow free use of its land for the park (and also cover future maintenance).

Then there is the lost opportunity cost - once the land is dedicated to one purpose it cannot be used for another purpose.  It strikes me that Rehoboth Beach should consider carefully whether the highest and best use of one of the few remaining park sites in the city is a park dedicated to the town of Greve in Chianti, Italy and 16th century explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano.

Perhaps the city should request proposals from other citizens to see if there are other proposals for the park that would be less costly and more relevant to Rehoboth Beach  It may, for example, be more appropriate to use this precious land to compliment the Rehoboth Beach Museum's mission of recognizing original groups that helped make Rehoboth what it is today including Methodist camp meetings, African Americans, Native Americans and the gay population. Or, perhaps, we should recognize Rehoboth Beach's emergence as the Nation's Summer Capital and the stewardship of Mayors Sam Cooper and John Hughes.

Or, perhaps just save the money and preserve the land.  One thing is clear; once the land is dedicated to a purpose it will be difficult to repurpose the land. We should take the time to study the options and choose the best path forward - and those with a personal interest should not be involved (much less "spearheading" the process).

Michael Bednarek
Rehoboth Beach

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