South Bethany Earth Day celebrates self-improvement

People can exercise their body and brains while walking around South Bethany. For Earth Day 2019, the ribbons were cut on more outdoor exercise equipment and a third outdoor Little Free Library.

“South Bethany is our favorite place on the earth, so we like to acknowledge something special every year,” said Sue Callaway, town councilmember and chairperson of the Community Enhancement Committee (CEC).

The Town has completed and showcased various projects for Earth Day since about 2013. 

Children now have their own outdoor library in a cabinet across from Town Hall. Town Councilmember Frank Weisgerber built the small cabinet to resemble a charming red schoolhouse, topped with a bell. Two button doorknobs open to reveal two bookshelves full of kid-friendly titles. People are encouraged to take a book and leave a book.

This is South Bethany’s third Little Free Library, with locations at S. 3rd Street by the beach and Evergreen Road by Town Hall.

“It has worked like a charm: take a book, leave a book, just like they said,” Callaway said. But youth and adult books were “getting jumbled up, and we don’t want the kids reading Danielle Steele, or anything.”

South Bethany joins 81,000 other registered Little Free Libraries across 90 countries (with a searchable location map at

“We used the term ‘modern-day watercooler,’” Weisgerber said. “I see them here most every morning. When I come up here [to Town Hall], somebody walks up, and they’re walking away with a book.”

It’s the perfect way to give old books a new home.

South Bethany also received an $8,000 matching grant to expand the outdoor fitness area next to Town Hall. Callaway thanked the town staff for creating a safe, attractive and accessible area among the trees.

New exercise stations include pull-up bars, a body curl bench, leg lift tower and a hyperextension bench. If that sounds like medieval torture, each station has signage to demonstrate the intended exercise. People can walk or ride to the exercise area and choose a few stations, or incorporate them all into circuit training.

Fitness trainers Mel and Kim Royster also returned to demonstrate the proper exercises, plus gentler variations. They plan to host another class here this summer, in addition to their twice weekly Boot Camp on the beach.

“We’re so lucky and so excited to have these two, and our yoga instructor, to make a fun summer on the beach … they’ll design your workout for you,” said councilmember Carol Stevenson.

“There’s tons of things you can do … if you think outside the box a little bit,” Kim Royster said. 

There will also be a bicycle rack and a regular bench for sitting or placing personal items.

Earth Day guests also received “Keep Fit! South Bethany” jump ropes.

“The town doesn’t have much space, so what they have, they have an opportunity to do something for all ages. It’s an activity, it’s a facility that all age groups can utilize at their own abilities, and it brings the community together,” said Bob Ehemann, who manages the planning section of Division of Parks and Recreation. “And it’s a space for events that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program (ORPT) gives about $1 million in matching grants each year and has impacted 45 of Delaware’s 50 municipalities. ORPT also made possible South Bethany’s 1991 purchase of an unbuildable triangle of 20 acres behind Cat Hill, Ehemann said.


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter