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Boardwalk committee suggests replacing Rehoboth Beach streetlights

Karl Malgiero
Delaware Public Media

A Rehoboth Beach committee is preparing recommendations to bring darker skies to the city.


The Boardwalk and Beach Committee has discussed encouraging dark sky initiatives throughout the city. Commissioner Jay Lagree wants to be able to see the Milky Way in the Rehoboth again.


But not everyone on the committee supports the effort. Frank Cole suggests waiting until after the city bounces back from COVID-19.


“I think if it were framed in terms of a voluntary initiative with the bigger hotels and commercial owners on the boardwalk, it might be easier to gauge whether they’re receptive to it," he said.


Cole says businesses are already dealing with financial woes from the effects of the pandemic, and things like dark sky mandates would hurt them more.


Plus, many businesses rely on lighting to attract customers.


The committee agreed on a proposal to lead by example, and start by replacing the lighting on the boardwalk and along Rehoboth Avenue with more targeted lighting.


Kathleen Fisher says the best way to encourage these businesses is by the city setting an example.


“I’d like to see the city take a stab at this and at least start replacing the lights on the boardwalk and then we think about Rehoboth Avenue," Fisher said.


The lights on the boardwalk are currently a globe style, and create a significant amount of light pollution.


Fisher says after replacing city lighting, they can then move towards asking businesses to change their lighting as well, after seeing the difference it makes.


Lagree will be presenting these recommendations to the city’s Board of Commissioners at its Friday meeting.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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