Page 1

you shared in word and image... -

Coastal Community Enhancement Initiative

...and we listened. 1


“Sussex County is a great place to live. I love the open spaces so close to the beach. Also, most people here are very kind and helpful.�


Contents PROJECT OVERVIEW

pg. 4

Throughout the Spring of 2008 we asked folks in Sussex County to respond to a simple question.

CORE ELEMENT #1: FARM COMMUNITY

pg. 5

An ever-changing landscape of working agriculture with the sights, sounds and smells of a thriving industry back-dropped by big sky and forest.

CORE ELEMENT #2: SMALL TOWNS

pg. 6

Small towns with rich history, architecture, character and characters, places and events that make community.

CORE ELEMENT #3: BEACH COMMUNITIES

pg. 7

Quaint ‘beach’ (not ‘shore’) communities where you can be as busy as you want or as quiet as you’d like and the architecture still speaks to the roots of church camps and family gatherings.

CORE ELEMENT #4: HISTORY

pg. 8

A community caught in time between the deep roots of a hardscrabble economy and local families to a destination for many who recognize opportunity.

CORE ELEMENT #5: NATURAL AREAS

pg. 9

Cypress Swamp and Atlantic Ocean, rivers, ponds and Inland Bays, salt marsh, pine and oak forest, abundant wildlife and seasons that change.

CORE ELEMENT #6: PEOPLE

pg. 10

A community of sincere, down to earth, resourceful, ‘take care of each other’ people of different cultures, come here’s, brung here’s and born here’s.

APPROACH #1: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

pg. 17

How do we maintain our current industries and open the door for others to come?

APPROACH #2: BUILDING OUR COMMUNITIES

pg. 18

We are no longer a community in transition; we must work and live together in harmony if Sussex County is to move forward.

APPROACH #3: GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT

pg. 19

Community planning steered by Heart & Soul will tap into sources of creativity within our communities.


Project Overview

What is the Heart & Soul of Sussex County?

When a community takes the time to get to know itself, its Heart & Soul elements, it gains a sense of identity and purpose that empowers its citizens to make strong enduring decisions and take action to protect and strengthen who they are.

Throughout the Spring of 2008 we asked folks in Sussex County to respond to a simple question. We’ve made a few adjustments; what you are

To me, Sussex County is... ?

about to read is the essence we captured of

We asked this question via drop boxes spread

Sussex County. It is a living document. People

throughout the county. We asked at any

continue to give us input, so consider this a

meeting we attended. We even developed a

first attempt at articulating what makes this

Web site, heartandsoulofsussex.org, and a flickr

wonderful county so special.

site for pictures. We received more than 1,000 comments, more than 100 pictures, several

The second part of this document is to help us

handwritten notes and a song. Yes, at one of our

think about things - how can we use what we

meetings, someone did write “A Song of Sussex.”

think we know? Once you articulate what is special about a place, what do you do about

We compiled the notes and the working

it? And, what do you do when the place itself is

committee identified six core themes and an

geographically large? Within the boundaries of

over arching statement. We then put picture and word into an audio CD, previewed the CD at a town meeting and asked questions to see if we had captured the “Heart & Soul” of Sussex County. Based on the comments we received, we made changes and again took our presentation on the road.

Sussex County, there are 25 towns, an abundance

Sussex Countians responded to our questions by giving their initial impressions, above, and by placing completed forms in response boxes placed throughout the county in the summer of 2008. 4

of natural resources and wonderful people. How we define ourselves is a definite challenge. This second section is to be used as a discussion guide to explore how to best use the “Heart & Soul” of Sussex.


The Essence of Sussex County Agriculture and small towns, coastal resort and natural areas deeply and seamlessly connected by history, place and people. The Six Core Elements of Heart & Soul • An ever-changing landscape of working agriculture with the sights, sounds and smells of a thriving industry back-dropped by big sky and forest. • Small towns with rich history, architecture, character and characters, places and events that make community. • Quaint beach (not shore) communities where you can be as busy as you want or as quiet as you’d like and the architecture still speaks to the roots of church camps and family gatherings. • A community caught in time between the deep roots of a hardscrabble economy and local families to a destination for many who recognize opportunity. • Cypress Swamp and Atlantic Ocean, rivers, ponds and Inland Bays, salt-marsh, pine and oak forest, abundant wildlife and seasons that change. • A community of sincere, down to earth, resourceful, “take care of each other” people of different cultures, come here’s, brung here’s and born here’s.

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Acknowledgements The Heart & Soul of Sussex County project aims to engage

to get to know itself, its Heart & Soul elements, it gains a sense

Sussex County residents in a conversation that identifies what

of identity and purpose that will help citizens make decisions

we, as a community, value. What would we miss if it were

and take action to strengthen who they are.

taken from us? What places do we most treasure? What items, So, we brought this project to our citizens — and they weren’t if lost, would diminish our quality of life in Sussex County? shy about giving us their comments, their suggestions, their criticism and their recommendations.

Agriculture and small towns, coastal resort and natural areas deeply and seamlessly connected by history, place and

Before we go further, we need to offer thanks to those who

people is what we, as a community, have identified as the

made this work possible. The Heart & Soul workgroup is

core statement that defines the essence of Sussex County,

made up of a diverse selection of our community — there are

Delaware.

photographers, bankers, writers, college administrators and farmers.

It was reached after many months of traveling Sussex County and asking residents to help define what life in Delaware’s

But one thing they all have in common is a love for and

southernmost county means to them. What is it that makes

genuine interest in the betterment of Sussex County.

our area of the world such a special place to us, some of whom Thanks to all those who let us place comment boxes in

have lived here our whole lives and some who have moved

their businesses and to the professionals who designed our

here in later years?

materials and allowed us to use their photos. And finally to all We share the beliefs of those at the Orton Family Foundation

those who responded via notepad, Web page, picture, essay or

in Middlebury, Vermont — when a community takes the time

song - You are our Heart & Soul!

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What is the Heart & Soul of Sussex County?

Take a look at what your friends and neighbors had to say about good old Sussex County. Local Foods Delight

Welcoming Home

“A place where you can get a scrapple, egg and cheese sandwich at Wilson’s Country Corner Store in Millsboro and a fish sandwich with hot sauce at Little Creek in Laurel.”

“A welcoming place to call home. It is Ace hardware outside of Lewes where people meet, clerks are friendly and recognize you when you walk through the door. Small towns are dotted across the landscape with farms in between. People are friendly and greet you as you pass on the streets and sidewalks.”

Tranquility “Home – It’s a great place to live. It has been my home all my life and I am 64. What other place can you find great people, fine country living, fresh air and all the peace you need? I sit on my front porch and get so much tranquility and thank God that I have such a great place to live.”

Natural, Friendly “Where I’ve always wanted to be. I’m a recent transplant from D.C. and I love the natural, friendly beautiful land here in Sussex.”

Ecology Needing Protection

Beach Convenience

“A unique mix of plants and animals that make up this area on the coastal plains of Delmarva. We must not let it die. The balance is fragile.”

“A place where you can go to the beach, relax with friends and always have fresh chickens to eat.” 7


Core Element 1:

Farm Community

An ever-changing landscape of working agriculture with the sights, sounds and smells of a thriving industry back-dropped by big sky and forest. Agricultural Backbone Where else but in Sussex County can you get stuck behind a farm tractor for mile upon endless mile, then find yourself less than an hour later on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean? Just try to enjoy the journey along the way. Being stuck behind that tractor, take in the sights and soak in the essence of what Sussex County is today, while catching a glimpse of what has made it that way over several hundred years. Sussex County is farmers toiling in their fields and families tending to their chickens – ah, the chickens! They may not smell the greatest and tourists love to complain about the endless views of chicken houses when they visit southern Delaware. But the fact is, Sussex County would not be what it is today without the poultry industry, an industry that accounts for 12 percent of the county’s workforce.

Sussex County’s poultry industry started as an accident in 1923 when an Ocean View farmer’s order for 50 chicks suddenly turned into 500 when a nearby hatchery mistakenly added an extra ‘0’ to her order. Nearly 100 years later, Sussex County produces more than twice as many broilers – young chickens suitable for broiling – than Cullman County, Alabama, the country’s second largest producer. Sussex County’s landscape is ever-changing. From the planting season to the harvesting season, the county’s agricultural roots continuously shine through as farmers get the most they can from the land. It is agriculture that makes us what we are today. From corn to soybeans, from watermelons to cucumbers, agriculture is the reason Sussex County has thrived through the years. Agriculture – a historical way of life in Sussex County, and definitely part of our Heart & Soul.

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“To me, Sussex County means rural villages and resort towns, farmland and Funland, old-timers and newcomers, old-fashioned wisdom and fresh new perspectives.” “To me, Sussex County is small town hospitality, where everyone knows everyone. Going to sleep to the pleasant sound of an irrigation or tractor working into the night, or the smell of freshly turned dirt in the crisp fall air. Cooling off after a long day’s work in the local swimming hole. Using duct tape to fix everything. Last but not least, riding the danger line with God close by your side.”


Core Element 2:

Small Towns

Small towns with rich history, architecture, character and characters, places and events that make community. Community With Flavor Since European settlers first set foot in present day Sussex County, the area has been a unique spot of the world sought after by the masses. It’s also been the subject of many a battle, some physical and some not so much. From the storied dispute between the Calverts and the Penns to the British siege during the War of 1812 and the enormous coastal defense system erected during World War II, Sussex County’s location near the mouth of the Delaware Bay has played a huge role throughout history. From the history of the original Swanendael settlement in Lewes, to the countless poultry farms that dot the landscape in the county’s central and western areas, there’s no shortage of examples that exemplify just how unique Sussex County is — it’s the reason so many new residents have chosen to make Delaware’s southernmost county their home.

Beginning with the sea captains who once sailed the waters of the Nanticoke and the Broadkill rivers, Sussex Countians have always had an intimate relationship with the water. As early as 1631 when Europeans first settled in present-day Lewes, to the burgeoning shipbuilding trade in Milton and Bethel, the area’s waterways have always played an essential role in Sussex. The area’s historic architecture also speaks to those roots. The National Register of Historic Places is teeming with sites in southern Delaware. The places and the events of Sussex County — Return Day, Punkin’ Chunkin’, The Georgetown Oyster Eat. All are components of the way of life we love and cherish here in southern Delaware.

“To me, Sussex County means high school football games under the lights on Friday nights, chicken and dumpling dinners at the fire hall, Canada Geese feeding in a field of golden corn stubble and a gathering of friends at a hunters’ breakfast on the opening day of shotgun season.”

“To me, Sussex County means sitting on the front porch of my Victorian home in Bethel, watching the sunset and stars while listening to folk music such as “Just Folks” on Delmarva

They make up our existence: Our events, our people and our rich history are what make Sussex County what it is, and are part of what we’d never want to lose.

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Public Radio on Saturday, or any other evening.”


Core Element 3:

Beach Communities

Quaint ‘beach’ (not ‘shore’) communities where you can be as busy as you want or as quiet as you’d like and the architecture still speaks to the roots of church camps and family gatherings. Life is a Beach When the Rev. Robert W. Todd of St. Paul’s M.E. Church in Wilmington bought land in Rehoboth Beach in the 1870s and founded the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church, it forever changed Sussex County. Not for the faint of heart, these early tent meetings were enthusiastic, even bordering on rowdy at times, as converts were actively and aggressively sought out by religious leaders. Remnants of the tent movement remain today, from the Anna Hazzard Museum in Rehoboth to the annual Carey’s Camp meetings still held every summer outside Millsboro. But today, the beach communities of Sussex County offer more than religious activities— today they boast a greater balance between a religious past and an ultra-modern present.

But the history is still there near the sea, with the old churches still standing tall and the days of tent meetings still remembered by the “old timers.” Sussex County’s coastal areas are today filled with award-winning restaurants, incredible art venues and many historical landmarks, places like the Zwaanendael Museum, Fort Miles and the Cannonball House. You can even jump on board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry for a relaxing trip across the Delaware Bay and back, and pay a visit to historic downtown Lewes upon your return. Or, if you prefer, you can visit the boardwalk in Bethany Beach on a summer weekend or travel a bit further north to Rehoboth and enjoy the rides at Funland, or grab a bite of pizza at your favorite pizza place. Whatever you decide to do, do it with your family — it’s what the county’s beaches are all about.

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“To me, Sussex County means the people. Once you have visited Sussex County, you never want to leave. It has been my experience that once people who live here are involved with the community, all care about the future of the county.” “The great thing about Sussex County is the variety - from the beach to the open farmland and the beautiful state parks.”


Core Element 4:

History

A community caught in time between the deep roots of a hardscrabble economy and local families to a destination for many who recognize opportunity. Bridging Old and New

northern markets much easier and tourists could visit places that, until tracks were

“Sussex County is made up of

laid in the mid-1800s, were merely curious

hardworking people who work

specks on the map.

the land, build and worship

have lived and worked here most of their

Agriculture still plays a major part in the

near the sea — a land that has

lives, it’s what they’ve always known.

everyday life of many Sussex Countians.

historically supported all who live

But the longtime lifeblood of the county

here, along with the bays and the

has given way in recent years to a growing

ocean — and one that is evolving

The opportunity for a better quality of life — it’s what has brought so many to Sussex County over the years. But for those who

Sussex County’s economy is rooted in agriculture, but life for area farmers hasn’t always been easy. Defined as “earning a bare subsistence, as on the land,” Sussex County’s

tourism sector, as well as a burgeoning retirement community.

hardscrabble economy was settled from the

Sussex County’s easternmost regions

outside (the coastal areas) in (the rural inland

have grown dramatically since the mid

areas).

1980s, even more so in the five-year period

A major event in the agricultural history of

between 1999-2004. But agriculture is still a major player in the

Railroad extended tracks from northern

southern regions of the First State. The old

Delaware down into the south.

and the new also come together, however,

because of the railroad – crops could reach

while maintaining its history and affection with land and water.” “Sussex County is the greatest place in the universe. I was

Sussex County came when the Delaware

Towns in Sussex County began to prosper

to a resort and retirement area

making Sussex County what it is today… A community caught in time.

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born here and continue to feel that living here is like being on vacation every day. What a fun place to raise my children.”


Core Element 5:

Natural Areas

Cypress swamp and Atlantic Ocean, rivers, ponds and Inland Bays, salt marsh, pine and oak forest, abundant wildlife and seasons that change. Influential Bodies of Water From the mouth of the Delaware Bay, where ships have been lost, lives have been saved and national defense systems have been erected, to the rivers and bays that make up the Inland Bays Watershed, Sussex County is all about the water. The “gateway to the Atlantic,” is the Indian River Inlet, which feeds both the Indian River Bay and the Rehoboth Bay. This barrier island opening, locked into place by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1928, is a recreational Mecca today. Surfers, body boarders, fisherman – you name the group of fun-loving, sun-seeking people, you can find them here, especially during the summer months. From the Great Cypress Swamp, which English botanist Thomas Nuttall once deemed “one of the most frightening labyrinths you can imagine,” to the ponds, rivers and bays that make up much of Sussex

County, there’s no question that life on the water has been a major factor throughout the area’s history.

“As a native Sussex Countian, I have been told numerous times,

In addition to the waterways that have become synonymous with Sussex County through the years, southern Delaware also offers abundant forests and wildlife areas. These are places that are very different in January than they are in June, as seasons change and take the temperature levels up or down with them.

by out of state friends, how kind the people are here. We care about helping each other. I’m proud to be from Sussex County.” “To me, Sussex County is a

The watershed of the Nanticoke River, for example, is more than 700,000 acres and includes extensive forests, thousands of acres of freshwater wetlands, the northernmost strands of bald cypress trees on the east coast and the highest concentration of bald eagles in the northeastern United States.

vanishing slice of Americana…

Sussex is part of a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water — it is part of what defines us.

neighbor’s yard and the huge

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Sussex County is a surprise with one foot in the future and the other firmly planted in the past. Sussex County is the fog, the deer that visit the salt lick in my

buzzard looking for his next meal.”


Core Element 6:

People

A community of sincere, down to earth, resourceful, ‘take care of each other’ people of different cultures, come here’s, brung here’s and born here’s. It’s the People To learn what life in Sussex County is all about, you need only attend the Sussex County Return Day celebration, held every even numbered year in Georgetown, the county seat. It is a festival that is uniquely Sussex County, and the locals protect its traditions with vigor. No matter what group you fall in to – come here’s, brung here’s or born here’s – it is a day for everyone to come together as one and celebrate life in Delaware’s southernmost county. Everyone coming together today means, literally, many different backgrounds and many different ways of life all living, working and coexisting together in Sussex County. Whites, blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, Asians, Indians – you name the group, they’re represented in Sussex County in the 21st century.

A lot of this cultural mixture in Sussex County can be directly tied to agriculture, the true lifeblood of the county for many generations. It is this unique mix of different races and different cultures that has helped transform Sussex County from a predominantly agricultural area highlighted by 25 miles of coastline, to a popular place for retirees and people relocating from neighboring states. There are few groups left out in today’s Sussex County. These groups are featured in many of the area’s cultural festivals — from the Hispanic Festival to the Nanticoke Indian Powwow to the uniquely Sussex County festival of Punkin’ Chunkin. They are all a part of life in Sussex County, a sure sign of life in the 21st century.

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“Sunday dinner is a special time. Because of church on Sunday, I cook dinner Saturday night. I’m the mom and grandmom but for some reason, I do all the cooking. But I enjoy it! Favorites are chicken and dumplings, turkey, chitlins and pigs feet, greens, potato salad, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, cabbage and mashed potatoes. With summer coming, we will barbecue and have a few crabs.” “This is a beautiful place to live. Everybody knows everybody. People take care of each other. People smile at you.”


SURVEY RESULTS We’ve compiled all of the information you were so gracious to provide us. As a result, we’ve made some interesting discoveries! At a public workshop in June 2008, our participants were asked for their opinions about how strongly each of the core elements reflect the true identity of Sussex County.” A community of sincere, down to earth, resourceful, “take care of each other” people of difference cultures, come here’s, brung here’s and born here’s.

An ever-changing landscape of working agriculture with the sights, sounds and smells of a thriving industry backdropped by big sky and forest.

Small towns with rich history, architecture, character and characters, places and events that make community.

Strongly Agree:

23%

Strongly Agree:

22%

Strongly Agree:

31%

Agree:

42%

Agree:

49%

Agree:

47%

Neutral:

21%

Neutral:

20%

Neutral:

20%

Disagree:

12%

Disagree:

9%

Disagree:

2%

Strongly Disagree:

2%

Strongly Disagree:

0%

Strongly Disagree:

0%

Quaint “beach” (not “shore”) communities where you can be as busy as you want or as quiet as you’d like and the architecture still speaks to the roots of church camps and family gatherings.

A community caught in time between the deep roots of a hardscrabble economy and local families to a destination for many who recognize opportunity.

Cypress swamp and Atlantic Ocean, rivers, ponds and Inland Bays, saltmarsh, pine and oak forest, abundant wildlife and seasons that change.

Strongly Agree:

14%

Strongly Agree:

25%

Strongly Agree:

45%

Agree:

45%

Agree:

36%

Agree:

43%

Neutral:

18%

Neutral:

21%

Neutral:

6%

Disagree:

18%

Disagree:

19%

Disagree:

6%

Strongly Disagree:

4%

Strongly Disagree:

0%

Strongly Disagree:

0%

Sussex County is.. “Agriculture and small towns, coastal resort and maritime deeply and seamlessly connected by history, place and people” ?

Did we capture the Heart & Soul of Sussex County?

How did you get to Sussex County / Delaware?

Strongly Agree:

36%

Nailed It!:

39%

Born Here:

34%

Agree:

39%

Getting There:

38%

Brung Here (work):

54%

Neutral:

20%

Not Bad:

8%

Came Here (and stayed):

11%

Disagree:

5%

Needs Some Work:

13%

Strongly Disagree:

0%

“Fur” From It!:

2%

How long have you lived in Sussex County / Delaware?

How old are you?

0-10 Years:

37%

20-30 Years Old:

8%

10-20 Years:

12%

30-40 Years Old:

18%

20-30 Years:

17%

40-60 Years Old:

63%

More Than 30 Years:

35%

Over 60 Years Old:

10%

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A Discussion Guide The Heart & Soul of Sussex County – Where do we go from here? When a community takes the time to get to know itself, its Heart & Soul elements, it gains a sense of identity and purpose that empowers its citizens to make strong enduring decisions and take action to protect and strengthen who they are. We Asked the Community The Heart & Soul of Sussex County project has engaged Sussex Countians in a conversation to determine what it is that we value most here in southern Delaware. With your help, we’ve determined that… …Sussex County is agriculture and small towns, coastal resort and natural areas deeply and seamlessly connected by history, place and people. We are: • An ever-changing landscape of working agriculture with the sights, sounds and smells of a thriving industry back-dropped by big sky and forest. • Small towns with rich history, architecture, character and characters, places and events that make community. • Quaint “beach” (not “shore”) communities where you can be as busy as you want or as quiet as you’d like and the architecture still speaks to the roots of church camps and family gatherings. • A community caught in time between the deep roots of a hardscrabble economy and local families to a destination for many who recognize opportunity. • Cypress swamp and Atlantic Ocean, rivers, ponds and Inland Bays, salt-marsh, pine and oak forest, abundant wildlife and seasons that change. • A community of sincere, down to earth, resourceful, “take care of each other” people of different cultures, come here’s, brung here’s and born here’s. Now that we are thinking about what makes Sussex County a special place, we can also think about how we want to use Heart & Soul.

Do we ensure our economic growth is aligned with Heart & Soul? Sussex is now a community of different cultures, born here’s, brung here’s and come heres. Do we use Heart & Soul to explore how we break down barriers and strengthen our communities? Sussex is a county on the cusp of change. Fifty-seven million people are within a day’s drive of Sussex County. We are a destination. Do we use Heart & Soul to help guide how we grow and develop?

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In this forum we will discuss each of the approaches to: • Understand the issue better and realizing how others feel and think about it. • Consider different approaches to the issue. • Weigh the costs, consequences and trade-offs of each. • Identify what we can do together, as well as issues that need further discussion. • Explore possible next steps, individually and as a public.


Let’s Work Together!

Building the Road Ahead

“If you don’t know where you are going... any road will take you there.”

continued to grow in record numbers as

In recent years, Sussex County has

more and more people are learning of our high quality of life here in southern

— The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

Delaware. But the more we grow, the more we risk losing the identity we’ve worked for generations to establish. It’s time we, as Sussex Countians, have a serious conversation about where we are heading and how we can best get there. What makes Sussex County special and are we willing to take the necessary action to keep it that way? That’s where Heart & Soul comes in. As you can see from the survey results on the left hand side of this page, Sussex Countians feel very differently about how this project should be utilized. Should we focus on land use, or on community building? On economic development, small town revitalization or on tourism? Or should it be a marriage of all of the above or something else altogether? We will look at three approaches on how

At a public workshop in June 2008, participants were asked to rank the following possible applications of the Heart & Soul Project from 1 (highest) to 6 (lowest). Average rankings are shown below.

we can best use what we’ve determined is important to us in Sussex, our Heart & Soul. Each approach clearly defines a course

Economic Development: 5.42 Small Town Revitalization: 5.42

of action and how we can best achieve our goals.

Land Use: 4.75

They are also very different in their

Tourism: 4.31

approaches. There is no alternative that’s right, nor is there one that’s wrong.

Annual Heart & Soul Check-Up: 2.51 Other: 0.47

These are merely catalysts for further discussion.

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Approach #1: Economic Development Sussex County lies within a day’s

important to us, Heart & Soul is

drive of 57 million people. We are a

important when plans are made.

destination for both recreation and

Business owners are becoming more

those who come to live here for low

and more interested in identifying and

taxes and all the reasons articulated in

understanding the communities in

our Heart & Soul.

which they live and where they conduct

We are the largest broiler producing

business.

county in the country, generating

Businesses seeking new locations look

environment that attracts people AND

$430 million dollars of revenue. We

hard at what communities offer for both

businesses.

have significant tourism industry

their business, their family and their

anchored by our resort communities.

employees.

And, real estate, development and

What can we offer them in Sussex

expansion policies in tourism,

construction, although hampered by

County?

agriculture, and growth and

What Can Be Done? Invest in infrastructure — not only roads, sewers and broadband, but also quality of life issues such as parks, public places and schools. We have to

the current economy are a significant contributor to our economy.

leverage our Heart & Soul to create an

Know what we want. Aggressively pursue business retention and

Why would they want to move their existing business or open a new one in

How do we maintain our current

southern Delaware?

industries and open the door for

What do we have that other places do

others to come? Knowing what’s

not?

development that reflect the Heart & Soul of Sussex. Provide tax and other incentives to attract industry that complements the community.

The Downside Sometimes when opportunity knocks, you have to answer and live with the unintended consequences. Our core industries, agriculture and tourism, critical elements of our Heart & Soul, do not pay that well. Attracting new industry based on Heart & Soul principles adds another dimension of difficulty.

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Approach #2: Building Our Communities! As we continue to move through the

But the diversity of our people may be

21st century in Sussex County, it’s

Sussex County’s greatest promise. Great

becoming more and more clear that

strides have been made in the last 50

the demographic and racial makeup

years, but tension still exists in Sussex

Use Heart & Soul to foster

of the county has changed. No longer

County and around the nation. It may

conversation among diverse groups,

is the county made up of three main

be more subtle today than in years past,

born here’s, come here’s and brung

racial segments – whites, blacks and

but it has certainly not been eliminated.

here’s.

What Can Be Done?

Devote time, space, and money to

Native Americans. We are no longer a community in

celebratory and educational festivals

Today, there is a burgeoning Hispanic

transition; that transition happened

that focus on our diversity.

population and an ever-growing,

some time ago. We are all here now

and politically active, gay and lesbian

and we must work and live together in

community, not to mention other

harmony if Sussex County is to move

minority groups from Asia, South

forward.

Promote efforts to end lingering segregation in all its forms, and discourage voluntary segregation. Form or join local groups or churches

America, the Caribbean and other

aimed at improving dialogue and

regions. And we are destination for a

bringing people together.

retiree population.

The Downside Not everyone is willing to change; it will take time. Forcing people together in every setting doesn’t work and will just cause more friction.

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Approach #3: Growth & Development The principles of the Heart & Soul

Several towns have articulated what

project state that we know who we are

they believe are their core values in

and we know what is important to us.

their plans. Similar to Heart & Soul,

They can help guide planning, public

they become touchstones for future

What Can Be Done? Place Heart & Soul principles in all

investment, development, design,

decisions.

budgeting and management at the

Plans should not be paper exercises.

plan implementation. (You don’t

local, county and state levels.

They are road maps, guides for how we

have to call them Heart & Soul but

will grow and develop.

they must articulate what the town

Community planning steered by

plans and use them as measures for

or county believes is important!)

Heart & Soul will tap into sources of

Develop mechanisms that ensure

creativity within our communities.

Heart & Soul becomes part of doing

Sussex County is half the land area

business.

of the state of Delaware. We have 25 Develop long term projections

wonderful towns and both County

on the amount of working lands

and towns have Comprehensive Plans.

needed to maintain a viable agriculture. Consider defining “edges” of towns to maintain the identity of what some call the “jewels” of Sussex County.

The Downside Stringent regulations tend to restrict business. Incentives are much more enticing. Land use change is inevitable. If you want to look at “vistas,” pay for it.

19


What You Can Do To Help Get Involved! In the 1970s, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell wrote: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s

Song of Sussex

gone.”

Words and Music by Haide and Bill Earl June 30, 2008

We’re at that point in Sussex County – it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work before it’s too late.

In each state are many counties And by nature we compare; Yet for us the gem is Sussex, In the state of Delaware. Have you seen the flag of Sussex With its stripes red, white, and blue And the sheaf of wheat its center? Golden harvest in full view! Fertile farms are all around us We are sure they yield the best. Coastal beaches beckon people From the east and from the west. In our hearts we think of Sussex As our haven, as our home. Whether we were born or moved here Nowhere else we need to roam.

Life as we know it here is changing; we’ve identified the specific items that we value most. Now, we must vigorously work together to protect them. But, there are things you can do now to help, such as: • Add your thoughts to our Web site forum. Visit www.heartandsoulofussex.org and leave us your comments and/or questions. • Join or form a Citizen’s Committee in your town. Get a group together and talk over what is important to you. • Find a cause and get involved! Be looking for us in your town in the near future. Together, we can make a difference in Sussex County.

20


Notes


Heart & Soul of Sussex County: Work Group Members

Diaz Bonville Kevin Fleming Dennis Forney Jane Hovington Ed Lewandowski Ron MacArthur Lynda Messick Mike Nally Lynn Parks Terry Plowman Preston Schell Judi Sciple Ileana Smith

Indian River School District Kevin Fleming Photography Cape Gazette Shechinah Empowerment Center Center for the Inland Bays Cape Gazette Community Bank of Delaware Integrity Communities Writer Delaware Beach Life Schell Brothers Delaware Tech Delaware Tech

Special Thanks to the Communities, Libraries and Businesses that supported Heart & Soul of Sussex Dan Gaffney, WGMD Steve Crane, Browseabout Books Greenwood Library Yoder’s Country Store Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company Barbeque Bridgeville Library Jimmy’s Grill Seaford Library Laurel Library Bryan and Brittinham Farm Supply Store Olde Glory Days Antiques Gumboro Good Earth Market Kool Bean Cafe’ & Bistro South Coastal Library Center for the Inland Bays Selbyville Library Dagsboro Southern States Rehoboth Beach Visitor Center Rehoboth Art League

Israel United Methodist Church Harbeson United Methodist Church Saint George’s Parish Hall Cultured Pearl Hoober’s Equipment CAMP Rehoboth Lewes Library St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Frankford Library Milton Library Milton Historical Society Beacon Middle School Millsboro Library Messick’s Store Sussex County Offices University of Delaware: Master Gardeners College of Earth, Ocean & Environment Research and Education Center Center for the Inland Bays Native Plant Sale

Acknowledgements

The flickr Photogroup: Mmahaffie Nekhbet melraf Matthew Topolski Nicminni Jennifer Reed Skm122 KB3JUV Chisubus dave.wolanski Royal19 Heartandsoulofsussex Salnunzio Ron MacArthur

Print and Web Designs/Development: Group J Design, Inc. Promotional Photography: Sonya Chisenhall Kevin Fleming Joe Melvin

23


About the Coastal Community Enhancement Initiative Program The University of Delaware Coastal Community Enhancement Initiative is an approach to address growth, land use and environmental impacts in southern Delaware. Three University of Delaware colleges and affiliated programs, each with a strong research and outreach base, are working together to coordinate their activities and help coastal communities achieve their sustainable development goals: The College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Cooperative Extension. The mission of Cooperative Extension is to connect the public with university knowledge, research and resources to address youth, family, community and agricultural needs. The College of Earth, Ocean & Environment and Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service. The mission of Marine Advisory Service is to foster the wise use, conservation, and development of marine resources by acting as a conduit between researchers and a variety of citizen users, from coastal resource managers to business owners. The College of Education & Public Policy and Institute for Public Administration. The mission of Institute for Public Administration is to link the research and resources of the University of Delaware with the policy information and management needs of its partners.

CCEI Members Participating in Heart & Soul of Sussex County: Bernie Dworsky James Falk Joe Farrell Bill McGowan Nicole Minni Jenn Stephens Michele Walfred

Contact Us: Cooperative Extension:

(302) 856-7303

Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service:

(302) 645-4235

Institute for Public Administration:

(302) 831-8710

Coastal Community Enhancement Initiative

Cooperative Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin; physical, mental or sensory disability; marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through you local Cooperative Extension Office.

Heart and Soul Magazine.  

This publication examines the approaches citizens of Sussex County, Delaware can take to assess what they value, what are the core qualities...

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