Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/911228

Rehoboth sister cities garden worthwhile pursuit

By Bunky Markert | Oct 18, 2012

I wanted to respond to the Oct. 10 letter to the editor written by Michael Bednarek, commenting on the proposed garden in Rehoboth Beach dedicated to Rehoboth’s sister city, Greve-In-Chianti, Italy.  Mr. Bednarek seems to regard the garden proposal with some suspicion, and I would like to allay his concerns.

I am currently the treasurer of the Rehoboth Beach Sister Cities Association.  We were formed in 2010 as a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization to support the agreement that was established between Rehoboth and Greve that was brought about with assistance from the Delaware Secretary of State.  We urge readers to visit www.rehobothsistercities.org for more background and the mission of our organization, and to see photos of the garden that was completed in Greve last year, dedicated to the citizens of Rehoboth Beach.

Although the writer may not be aware, there is a connection between the two cities. Greve is the birthplace of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the 16th century explorer, who explored the coastline of the U.S. in 1524.  Rehoboth has a memorial to Verrazzano on the Boardwalk at Olive Avenue.  There are two bridges named for him, one connecting Assateague Island in Maryland and one more well-known between Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York.

But in a greater sense, our organization strives to show the connections between all of us, how we all got to this beautiful place, and we think the garden we propose will be a way of doing that.  We hope that by creating a beautiful environment, styled as an Italian formal garden with a compass as its centerpiece, will provide residents and visitors to relax, reflect, and consider the age of exploration, the immigrant experience, and the beauty of our seaside resort and how it came to be.  The location was chosen as a means of connecting the memorial to the garden, and providing an alternate path for visitors to explore other parts of the city, and to return easily to the shopping district.  
The park area next to Lake Gerar is largely undeveloped and uninviting, which the city currently maintains.  The RBSCA intends to raise a significant portion of the cost through soliciting grants, and donations from individuals and from local businesses.  The scale of the project is matched to our ability to raise the funds needed, and we have received very positive responses from those to whom we have presented it.  And for those who would be interested, our website provides a means to support the project.

This is our opportunity for citizens to do something special for the city that is welcoming and lasting.  And it vastly improves an area of the city that is largely undiscovered.

Bunky Markert
treasurer, Rehoboth Beach Sister Cities Association

 

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