Q. What is the LRCIA?
A. The Lewes Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association (LRCIA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with no paid staff composed of a Board of Directors drawn from a wide array of organizations active in promoting the communities of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. The following organizations have representation on our Board: City of Rehoboth Beach, City of Lewes, Town of Henlopen Acres, Southern Delaware Tourism (Convention & Visitors Bureau for Sussex County, DE), Rehoboth Beach Historical Society, The University of Delaware Sea Grant, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Lewes Chamber of Commerce, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, The Lewes Historical Society and the Delaware Tourism Office.

The LRCIA mission is to improve the appearance and functionality of the Lewes -- Rehoboth Canal corridor in order to better serve residents and visitors to the Cape region of Delaware. A very important part of our mission is to pave the way for green, public transportation along the Canal corridor via a solar powered water taxi.

Q. Will the LRCIA operate the Proposed Water Taxi between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach?
A. The LRCIA is focused on making the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal corridor viable for a private Water Taxi/Shuttle service that can utilize a safe, rider-friendly infrastructure. This starts with the creation of a Rehoboth Beach water taxi terminus on the canal bank beside the Rehoboth Beach Museum.

Q. Can such a water taxi terminus be built on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal?
A. Yes. In November 2011, a feasibility report conducted by Landscape Architectural Services, LLC and RK&K concluded that a Rehoboth Beach Water Taxi Terminus could be built to satisfy all government and public codes and verified the following:

  • The development plan could provide access to the canal via a pier and dock that accommodates two 30’ pontoon boats and kayak/canoe launch.
  • The terminus design is ADA compliant.
  • The terminus design ties into the existing Rehoboth Beach Museum site and complements its existing architecture.
  • The terminus will create a western “gateway” to the city of Rehoboth Beach.

Q. Where will people park to utilize the water taxi?
A. The water taxi is poised to be part of the Cape Region’s public, alternative transportation network and strategy. Therefore water taxi access points will include dedicated stops on public transportation bus/shuttle/trolley routes and bicycle trails. This will encourage visitors and residents to stay parked at their original location while taking advantage of scenic, public transportation between Rehoboth Beach and Lewes and not endure traffic on the busy Route 1 corridor.

Q. Where will the water taxi terminus be located in Lewes?
A. Several options are being discussed that include docking locations at Canalfront Park, City Dock, and future sites.

Q. How much will this project cost?
A. The construction and landscaping costs of the Rehoboth Beach water taxi terminus is estimated at $850,000.

Q. Who will pay for the project?
A. The project team is working towards a public-private partnership where funding will be sought through state government, local government, private business and individual donations.

Q. When will this project be completed and water taxi-ready?
A. As early as the summer of 2013 depending on the fundraising effort.

Q. How will the proposed 2012 water taxi service between Dewey Beach and Lewes impact this project?
A. Should it start operating in 2012, the service will help project ridership numbers and overall usage as more Lewes-Rehoboth Canal access points become available (primarily the Rehoboth Beach water taxi terminus). It will also literally and figuratively test the waters for such a service.

Q. Why is this project necessary and how will it benefit the area?
A. 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. 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.