Build it and they will come

I’ve had the pleasure recently of interviewing several people who have retired to Sussex County. It’s not hard to find someone who fits into that category because there are thousands of people who have moved here to retire.

In fact, if you believe statistics, Sussex retirees could outnumber working folk in a few years. Most are putting down roots in eastern Sussex and have enriched the lifestyle of Sussex County with some amazing resumes.

So why do they come here?

I can think of a few reasons not to come here.

Florida and Arizona are much warmer in the winter months. In fact, the winters here can be rather dismal.

Outside of eastern Sussex, cultural activities are few and far between.

Health facilities may be adequate now, but with further influx of retirees and an aging population, they may not be adequate in the near future.

You have to drive to get anywhere; public transportation is not designed for retirees.

But, I can also think of plenty of reasons to retire here:

There are plenty of good golf courses.

Those who like nature can watch birds and canoe and kayak to their heart’s content. The beach is never far away from anyone in the county.

Active seniors have many options, with biking and walking trails in eastern Sussex and an active running and fitness community.

You could eat out every night and never run out of restaurants.

The beach is one of the big drawing cards to Sussex County.

There are many organizations, such as Southern Delaware Academy of Lifelong Learning, geared toward expanding seniors’ minds. Social opportunities are also abundant.

There is an endless stream of volunteer opportunities available to seniors who want to get involved.

But, by far, the biggest reason people come here is to get out from under high taxes, especially sales and property taxes.

Many people who escape from New Jersey are accustomed to paying $1,000 to $2,000 per month in property taxes alone. The average resident in Sussex pays about $100 a year in property taxes, not including school taxes. Those living in manufactured homes pay about half that amount.

Then there is growth in Sussex County. It’s hard to get a reading on how retirees look at our growth. There’s no doubt some are outspoken about development on the eastern side of the county – even those from major urban areas.

It’s hard to compare growth in the Washington, D.C. metro area, for example, to growth in Sussex County. Some counties in that area have larger budgets, schools and police forces than the entire state of Delaware.

My feeling is that most retirees don’t see growth as a problem in the county. They may complain about getting out on Route 1, but it’s comparable to what they are used to.

The rush to get here may have been slowed a little because of the economy, but it will return. There might not be gold in them-thar hills, but there is certainly a way to save some gold in the sand and soybeans of Sussex County.


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One Response to “Build it and they will come”

  1. Joan Deaver Says:


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