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Lewes, Delaware
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April 11, 2008     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2008
 

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-r-q- 18 - CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, April 11 - Monday, April 14, 2008 LEWES' FUTURE SCAN RESPONSES WIDE-RANGING Open space is No. 1 concern for residents Few project participants were born in Lewes and nearly all over 51 - By Henry J. Evans Jr. Cape Gazette staff More than 100 Lewes residents have added their opinions, view- points and demographic data to Future Scan, a study that looks at what already exists to better fore- cast and manage inevitable changes ahead. On Saturday morning, April 5, residents filed into Cape Henlopen High School's Little Theatre to provide their input to Future Scan's data-gathering effort, which began last summer. In February, more than 50 peo- ple from the public and private sector representing health, envi- ronment, business, recreation, education and a number of other areas, spent a day at the Virden Conference Center reviewing data that could help maintain and improve the quality of life in Lewes through 2015. Future Scan is a Greater Lewes Foundation initiative conducted in cooperation with the University of Delaware's College of Marine and Earth Studies Sea Grant Program. The Delaware River and Bay Authority, operator of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, has also pro- vided significant financial support for the project. "If we're willing to take a look at change and willing to be proac- rive, then we can create change to make a better community," said Jim Falk, director of the Sea Grant Program's Marine Advisory Service and moderator of the pub- lic session. Falk said Future Scan's objec- tive is to develop a list of six to 10 projects for public and private action. He said Lewes' compre- hensive plan and the city's core values are guidelines tO direct project proposals and develop- ment. Among Lewes' core values are Future Scan participants used electronic handheld devices to register responses to questions about land use, annexation and lifestyle. Henry J. Evans Jr. photos About 100 people took part in a public polling segment of Lewes' Future Scan study at Cape Henlopen High School's Little Theater. The study, which is moving toward conclusion, will identify how Lewes and the surrounding area can maintain and improve the quality of life through 2017. the city's special and historic rela- tionship with the sea, its human scale and sense of intimacy, and its commitment to architectural preservation and its unique histor- ical heritage. Falk said although it is easy to identify Lewes' city limits, Future Scan's research has identified something larger - the Greater Lewes Area, which stretches mostly westward beyond Five Points. He said population projections for Greater Lewes are expected to nearly double to 9,179 by 2020 - up from 5,910 in 2005. Showing a pie chart, Falk said that in 2003, 1,409 acres in Lewes, its annex- able areas and in adjacent areas along Gills Neck Road, had been developed or were planned for development. He said in 2008, that number had nearly doubled to 2,281 acres. Following Falk's presentation each participant used a wireless, handheld device to respond to 24 questions. Within moments, par- ticipant responses were projected on-screen and displayed as bar graphs. Responses to question number 1, 'Where do you live?' indicated that 85 percent lived in the City of Lewes, 15 percent lived outside the city but within the 19958 ZIP code, and 3 percent lived else- where. But responses that could be considered more eye-opening quickly followed. Ninety=six percent said they were not born in Sussex County. Those 51 to 65 years old repre- sented 58 percent of respondents, and 38 percent were more than 65 years old. There were no respon- dents in the 20-to 35-year-old age group. Lewes' small-town feel was rated as most valued by 72 per- cent of respondents. History and a commitment to preservation were rated most valuable by 19 percent. Sixty-five percent indicated the loss of open space around Lewes as needing urgent attention. Increased traffic on area roads and highways was ranked second. Three-fourths of all respon- dents indicated they would like to see Lewes annex all areas identi- fied as available and targeted in the city's comprehensive plan. Only 13 percent indicated that annexation should end if Showfield at Lewes becomes part of the city. Falk said the small number of participants rela- tive to Lewes' population of more than 3,100 presents a chal- lenge as the study progresses. He said researchers are looking for ways to get input from those who have not participated in the study. Falk said one or two punic par- ticipation sessions would be held in the weeks ahead to gather addi- tional information for a final report. Contact Henry J. Evans Jr. at hevans@capegazette.com. What do you value most about Lewes? What do you feel is the most urgent overall situation we need to address? Increased traffic on our roads and hlghwavs 27 The loss of open space in the land around Lewes Parking and congestion 1 In the downtown area r 6 Access to the beach during the summer months 65 ! ! i I 20 40 60 80