A Rehoboth garden blossoms into a Sister Cities bond.
It’s a very big deal for a very young chapter of the 2,000-member-strong Sister Cities International: At the
tender age of four years, Rehoboth Beach Sister Cities Association won the worldwide organization’s 2014 Innovation Award for Arts and Culture for a beautiful Italian-style garden it planted on Baltimore Avenue. ‘We’re thrilled,” says Pat Coluzzi, president of RBSCA. “The garden has become quite popular.”
Rehoboth joined Sister Cities in 2010, a couple years after planting a monument to Giovanni da Verrazzano on the boardwalk, after former state historian Russ McCabe proved that the famed navigator had explored the Delaware Coast in 1524—long before the much celebrated Henry Hudson in 1609. Working with the Delaware Commission on Italian Culture and Heritage, Rehoboth established a link with the explorer’s hometown, Greve-in-Chianti, Italy. Then, the two cities planned a garden exchange as a way of sharing cultures and commemorating their friendship. RBSCA members traveled to Greve for the official opening of its Rehoboth-style garden in 2012. An envoy from Greve traveled to Rehoboth to dedicate its Italian-style garden last year.
RBSCA collaborated with the Delaware Commission on Italian Heritage and Culture, the city of Rehoboth Beach, regional Italian-American organizations, local Italian-American business owners and Sposato Landscape to create the garden. Coluzzi traveled to the Sister Cities International conference in San Jose, Calif., to receive the award in early August.
RBSCA has also participated in a student exchange with Greve, and Coluzzi hopes for an artist exchange in the near future. “The whole idea of a garden exchange was a lot of fun,” she says. “People have family photos taken there, wedding photos. It’s become quite popular.” She says with a laugh, “we’re just trying to show that the city of Rehoboth has things besides a boardwalk.”