“It’s going to clog the whole town:” Activist hold protest opposing potential restaurant on Cape Henlopen State Park grounds

LEWES, Del.- Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) proposed project that could bring a 6,000 square foot restaurant to the grounds on Cape Henlopen State Park got environmentalist across Sussex County ready to take action, as the Preserve Our Park Coalition hosted a protest Sunday.

Although protestors were unsuccessful at a getting permit to speak up on park grounds, their presence was still felt. “To come out on a cold and windy day like today and have over 250 people show up to come out and preserve our park really means a lot,” Preserve Our Park Coalition Co-Founder Christine Busche said.

“It’s really going to disturb the natural beauty of Cape Henlopen Park,” Preserve Our Park Coalition Co-Founder Elaine Simmerman said.

DRNEC tells 47ABC, the activist group didn’t complete the proper paperwork for a special use permit to have the protest on park grounds.

The restaurant would be located right on the dunes, which is why Simmerman says they have several environmental and traffic concerns. “They’re going to build a new road with 5 traffic circles. It’s going to clog the whole town,” Simmerman said.

“We want that parking lot to be used for people who are going to be in the water fishing, swimming, and enjoying all the sports that are out there. Recreation.”

Simmerman adds the project could potentially violate state law, as it’s covered under the Warner Grant.

The grant outlines specific uses for the park that include public recreation, conservation, and nature education. “Furthermore, the law expressly prohibits any private money being made,” Simmerman said.

A contract between the state and the hospitality group wishing to move the project forward has a deadline January 1st.

Those we spoke with hope that preservation prevails. “It’s just a beautiful place to be. People move here to get away from all the development,” Busche said.

We reached out to the hospitality group looking to build the restaurant and did not hear back.

We also reached out to DNREC and they said more answers will be forthcoming.


Categories: Delaware, Local News