Project Benefits

This project has a number of significant benefits, many of which are based in environmental concerns. However, benefits will also accrue in a number of other areas including the further development of tourism, the education of the public regarding local historical venues, the attraction of new businesses to serve the tourism industry, and other economic development benefits.

These benefits are described specifically below:

This project will help keep a certain amount of vehicular traffic off the local roadways and the congested Route 1 corridor. This will be particularly helpful in the summer and fall months, when most of our visitors are in town. The Route 1 corridor has not been able to keep up with increases in population and travel. This results in significant delays during the peak season. These congested highways, especially during periods of backup, are responsible for excessive emissions of greenhouse gases. The congestion also is a public safety issue as it leads to a greater number of accidents.

A water taxi is a unique option for the area. This in itself would provide a novelty which would draw additional visitors. A certain segment of those visiting southern Delaware is especially interested in boating. This will provide an interesting and fun alternative which would, in many cases, make southern Delaware the choice for a vacation rather than some other setting. In addition, being able to experience both Lewes and Rehoboth Beach easily during the same trip may be a deciding factor in making southern Delaware their destination.

In addition to creating a foundation for a water taxi, the launch landing area for canoes and kayaks could be enhanced and created to promote recreation and low impact travel between the two towns. This would serve as an ideal “blueway” to complement the green way of the Junction and Breakwater trail that connects Lewes and Rehoboth for cyclists, walkers and runners.

This project will add to the economic impact of area tourism and create more jobs directly through the new water transportation service provider and will also provide a number of indirect jobs as more visitors patronize the shops, restaurants and area attractions. With increased visitation, there will be more demand for facilities to serve the visitors. This could include restaurants, antique shops, gift shops, and service establishments.

This project is especially important due to the fact that 7,000,000 visitors travel to Sussex County annually. This has a significant beneficial impact on the area due to its generally poor economic indicators. Tourism is therefore extremely important in keeping the county from exhibiting high levels of poverty and unemployment. Tourism in the county generates approximately $750,000,000 annually. An impressive 90 percent of those sales come from the eastern, resort side of the county where the canal is located.

The project will enhance the property values along the canal.

It will better connect the residents and visitors to such events and attractions as the Historic Lewes Farmers’ Market, the Rehoboth Beach Farmers’ Market, Rehoboth Bandstand performances, Rehoboth Art League Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, historical sites and museums, annual events such as the Sea Witch Festival and travel to Cape Henlopen State Park.

It also enables more compelling packaging with restaurants and area attractions among the region and not just in one town.

This project has the advantage of being expandable with potential travel points extending to Dewey Beach and Milton.