We are a community on the move. Growth has brought in new faces, and seen a few others leave in its wake. We have watched new buildings go up, and others come down to make room for the new. It has brought prosperity and services, and has created a few critics along the way.
It is, indeed, important that we embrace the growth, if for no other reason, it is inevitable. We live in a special place. People want to come here, and businesses look to thrive. However, when we are faced with even the possibility of losing an icon in this community, we must all do whatever we can to ensure it stays.
Take Ron Steen, for example. For 49 years, Steen has been renting beach equipment in Bethany Beach. The severe winds from Tropical Storm Ernesto over Labor Day weekend blew away or destroyed a good chunk of Steen’s merchandise, and caused an expense that he had no control over.
Now, faced with that steep cost, Steen has approached the Bethany Beach Town Council with the request that his vendor contract with the town be extended so he can more easily justify his expenses. The council certainly sounds sympathetic, and is offering to extend his contract from the current two years he has left for another five-year deal, providing the town attorney sees nothing wrong with that proposition.
We’re all for free enterprise, where someone could bid on a project and win a contract because he or she is able to come in with a lower price and better services than the competition. We’re also completely behind municipalities practicing sound economic judgement, and doing what’s best for its residents.
However, we’re also for continuity, especially in this case. Steen has proven over the years to be both a good business partner and ambassador for the town. Both sides have done very well thanks to this partnership, and there’s just something comforting about seeing Steen’s equipment on Bethany Beach year after year. Yes, change is inevitable, but it’s also nice to see some familiar faces that can be counted on in all times.
We applaud the town council for trying to get this done right now, and hope for all of our sakes that Steen and his beach umbrellas are dotting Bethany Beach’s landscape for years to come.