Fenwick Island Receives Healthy Community Award

FENWICK ISLAND – At last Friday’s Town Council meeting City Manager Merritt Burke presented the 2014 Governor’s Healthy Community Award he had accepted on behalf of the Town of Fenwick Island.

Last week, five Delaware municipalities received the Delaware Recognition for Community Health Promotion from Governor Jack Markell for championing the health and well-being of their communities. The ceremony was held at the Sewell C. Biggs Museum in downtown Dover.

According to the Delaware Coalition on Health for Healthy Eating and Active Living (DE HEAL), the Governor’s Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and DE HEAL recognized the cities of Dover, Newark and Seaford and the towns of Fenwick Island and Smyrna.

Municipal applications were scored based on self-reported assessments of efforts to enhance access to services, encourage positive behavioral changes and improve community health. Healthy efforts demonstrate effective planning and implementing best practices and/or creative and visionary programs to improve physical activity, nutrition/healthy eating, tobacco-free lifestyles, healthy environments and healthy lifestyles and to integrate the needs of individuals with limited mobility and disabilities in neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.

The Town of Fenwick Island received Special Recognition for a Small Municipality based on the following actions.

Before the 2013 summer season, Fenwick Island passed a no-smoking ordinance for its two parks and its one-mile public beach, which allows activities including swimming, body surfing, running, flying kites, and playing volleyball. The Environmental Committee meets every other month to discuss environmental policies that promote healthy lifestyles and reduce pollution.  The Ad Hoc Parks Committee planned Cannon Street Park and secured the park grant for its development, which includes a basketball court and a kayak launch that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  As well as providing beach accessibility, the town approved the allocation of over $100,000 for ADA beach mats, called Mobimats, on every dune crossing.  Walkability is an important town feature.  The Town of Fenwick Island’s Comprehensive Plan, Code and municipal ordinances encourage interconnectivity.  The plan recommends the installation of sidewalks along Route 1 to increase pedestrian safety.  A 2002 Pedestrian Plan assists the town and DelDOT to identify feasible Route 1 crossing solutions for pedestrians and bicyclists. The town is studying the feasibility of requiring commercial property owners to install sidewalks for new construction and major renovation projects. Additionally, town officials adopted a Parks Zone designed for parks and recreation.

Local vendors sponsor tours and lessons for a variety of water sports, such as surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding. The Fenwick Island Fishing Club sponsors fishing expeditions for adults and children. Children can register for basic or advanced junior lifeguarding, sponsored by the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol.  At a Bike Safety Day, the Sussex Cyclists, the Fenwick Island Police Department, town staff and community volunteers distributed bike helmets, lights and safety literature. Another volunteer-run activity is the Fenwick Island Turkey Trot, held every Thanksgiving morning.

The town sponsors three Fenwick Flicks, which are movie nights on the beach, with the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce, where tobacco-free information is given to movie-goers. Additionally, a Farmers Market along Route 1 is open every Friday from 8-11 a.m. during the summer season.