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Native Americans, Lewes residents protest Village Center

About two dozen people stood at the intersection of Kings Highway and Gills Neck Road Dec. 27, to peacefully protest the Gills Neck Village Center project. 

Sussex County Council unanimously approved the rezoning of an 11.6-acre parcel across from Cape Henlopen High School from AR-1, agricultural-residential, to B-1, neighborhood business district, at its Dec. 13 meeting, allowing developer J.G. Townsend Jr. & Co. to build a shopping center up to 75,000 square feet on the property. 

Protesters included people of Native American descent concerned about the disturbance of unmarked burial grounds on the site and Lewes-area residents voicing continued concern about the shopping center’s impact on Lewes’ wellheads. 

“We’re here as protectors, not protesters,” said Jules Jackson, an advocate of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Co-organizer Aaron Appling said the Village Center property is federally recognized as the site of Lenape burial grounds, and while he knows the developer now has the legal right to move forward with the project, he’d like to see more done to protect the possible presence of unmarked burial grounds.

“We’re peaceful, but we want people to start talking about this,” he said. “Our main objective is to start a conversation.” 

Read more in the Friday, Dec. 30 edition 

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