LITTLE CREEK — It was a great day for the town.
If plans materialize, Little Creek’s future will follow suit.
The new boating and fishing access area officially opened early Tuesday afternoon with at least one eager angler heading toward the water with pole.
More visitors are expected with a new single-lane boat ramp and floating 80-foot aluminum dock in place, allowing for crabbing and kayak launching.
The goal is to become a destination location on the Bayshore area that stretches from New Castle to Lewes.
The $1.9 million project was funded by federal, state and local support. It also includes 21 parking spaces for vehicles and boat trailers. Supporters envision the area returning to a vibrancy not seen in years since the oyster industry waned.
Lifelong Little Creek resident Doug Hegman can now return to the access area to fish and crab and “enjoy the scenery. The next thing we have to get is a store.”
Little Creek Mayor Glen Gauvry, left, talks with DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin during the Little Creek Boating and Fishing Access Area dedication on Tuesday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery
There’s going to be more reason to live in town, Margie Barrett said. People “will come here just to enjoy what the town can offer.”
Said Mayor Glenn Gauvry, “This breathes more life into the community … Little Creek is starting to see its rebirth.”
One of the youngest visitors was Allison Rinehart, who often visits family in the area.
“I like to fish and crab and this definitely makes me want to come here more,” she said.
Donna Tribbitt has lived in town for 62 years. She can remember when “lots of boats were tied to the dock. It’s sad to see how it’s been deteriorating. The lighthouse on Port Mahon burned down in the 1980s and it seems like it’s been one bad thing after another.”
Bill McSpadden of Slaughter Beach traveled to Little Creek for the first time in “years and years.” He recently watched a boardwalk completed in his town and believes Little Creek will continue to grow.
“It’s nice to see this type of opening in the Bayshore area,” he said. “This came from a lot of sources and shows what can be done when people work together for a common goal.”
State Rep. Bill Carson, D-Smyrna, received much credit for gaining legislative support, while Director Division of Fish and Wildlife Dave Saveikis was lauded as well for his support in the early visionary period perhaps seven years ago.
Delaware Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long touted the economic potential the area might create, along with enhanced safety for the community as emergency responders have quicker access to the water, assists and rescues.
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin touched on the Bayshore Initiative’s continued progress.
“I don’t think it could have turned out any better than it did,” he said.
Mayor Gauvry pointed to Little Creek’s entire economic zone being purchased. A delicatessen with wings, sub sandwiches, ice cream and pizza is set to open within 30 days.
A boat and tackle shop would serve the town, he said, along with three-story residential and commercial structures.
The former Village Inn is also for sale.
“I’m pitching it and there are already people interested. I will listen to anyone else as well,” he mayor said.
Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org