No changes for Bethany council makeup

Bethany Beach Mayor Jack Walsh, Vice-Mayor Carol Olmstead and Council Member Wayne Fuller will each serve another two-year term on the Bethany Beach Town Council, as they were the only applicants for the three vacancies left by the coming expiration of their terms in September.

Walsh, who has served as mayor since January, will serve his third term on the council. It will be Olmstead’s second term and Fuller’s fifth.

Walsh has lived in Bethany Beach for nine years and first became involved in local government in 2001 while resisting efforts to construct a road that would have run through wetlands, as well as his property.

He said he considers beach nourishment to be one of the most significant issues currently affecting the community.

“Bethany Beach really lives by its beach,” Walsh said. “It’s why people live in Bethany Beach, come to Bethany Beach, and if that big appeal of the beach diminishes then you’ve got to do something to turn that around.”

Walsh said he hopes the council will actively seek federal funding for a beach reconstruction project in the coming months. He said he sees improving the quality of life for residents and vacationers to be the most important responsibility of the council.

“We want to continue to maintain the viability of the town’s financial structure because we’ve been very fortunate in terms of being able to do things we want to do,” Walsh said.

Olmstead has served on the council for two years, during which time she initiated the creation of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Committee. The committee has worked to establish a historical museum in the town hall lobby and put on numerous cultural events in Bethany Beach.

She has owned property in the town for 15 years but has been a permanent resident since 2000. When she first came to Bethany Beach, Olmstead was active in planning events for the town’s centennial celebration and later became president of the Beach Hollow Homeowners Association.

She said she wants to continue to serve on the council because she has become involved in so many of the town’s issues and two years is not a long enough time to adequately address each of the topics.

“When you get involved in the issues, you want to be able to continue to be involved and follow through on some of the things you initiated,” Olmstead said. “I may have initially run for council because people encouraged me to, but then I realized how many issues there are and I wanted to be able to pursue changes.”

Olmstead said the most important topics to be watched throughout the next two years will be the beach replenishment and the development of the former Christian Church and Neff properties.

During the past eight years, Fuller has served as vice-mayor of Bethany Beach and has been a member of numerous committees. He currently serves as chairman of the town’s Charter and Ordinance Review Committee. Before he was elected to council, Fuller served on the Planning Commission for five years as both a member and chairman.

Fuller moved to the town in 1993, after retiring from his job as a certified safety professional. He joined the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company that same year and continues to serve as a volunteer fire fighter.

Additionally, Fuller serves on the Christian Church Board of Directors, and said that, although he is busy, he enjoys being able to volunteer in the town.

“I fell in love with Bethany Beach when I was 16 and I decided if there is ever an opportunity to come retire here I would,” Fuller said. “The town has grown and changed a lot but its still Bethany Beach.”

He said he looks forward to watching the development of the bandstand downtown as well as the planned beach replenishment project.