Office of State Representative Ron Gray
December 12, 2016
Reps. Ron Gray (right) and Tim Dukes (left) and Senator Gerald Hocker joined the Governor and more than 100 people in gathering near the banks of Pepper Creek recently to officially break ground for the Delaware Botanic Gardens.
The 37-acre site, just east of Dagsboro along Piney Neck Road, belongs to the Sussex County Land Trust, which is leasing the property - valued at $1.3 million - to the Delaware Botanic Gardens for $1 a year.
The ambitious project began four years ago as a grassroots movement grew into a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. In 2015 alone, the group raised more than $1 million, including private donations, grants, and contributions from the Community Transportation Fund allotments of most Sussex County legislators.
The event marks the start of a long process. According to information supplied by the group, building the Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek must be done in stages expected to take a decade to realize fully.
The vision is to eventually make the complex self-supporting, with revenue generated by membership dues, admission fees, gift shop and online sales, event rentals, special shows, and donations. An endowment fund has also been established.
Supporters of the project believe it can be a regional attraction that will, among other things, lure tourists from the nearby shore resorts.