Fenwick Talks Town Hall Parking, Route 1 Nautical Lights

FENWICK ISLAND – The Fenwick Island Town Council’s discussed several new items at last month’s meeting, including the possibility of regulating after-hour parking at Town Hall, installing the holiday nautical lights on the power poles during the summer season, creating a new dedicated Parks fund and several funding requests to enhance the Fenwick Island Community Park.

Town Hall Parking After Hours

According to Council Treasurer Gardner Bunting, the Business Development Committee discussed the potential of allowing the public to park at Town Hall after business hours. However, there is nothing currently on the books that restricts the public from parking at the facility once Town Hall closes for the day.

Councilman Bill Weistling recommended if the town were to let it be known Town Hall was available for public parking that signage should be posted in front of the most northern parking spaces along the Fenwick Island Community Park and Police Department to dedicate those spaces to those facilities.

“If families come up to the park after dinner, they may not have a place to park,” Weistling said.

Councilman Roy Williams suggested allowing the public to park at Town Hall after business hours this summer season as a trial run.

“We don’t have anything that says no parking after hours, so I am not real sure why we would put that there would be parking when there isn’t anything that says that there is no parking,” Mayor Audrey Serio said.

Bunting furthered the parking behind Town Hall was also discussed. That is currently primarily used by the fire department and staff.

If the town were to advertise the spaces at Town Hall are available, Police Chief William Boyden stated parking behind the building should be restricted.

“Because of the fire department, the gas and diesel pump and other equipment, with shift work there is a possibility that there would be no where to park. I would just keep it to the front of the building,” he said. “There is nothing in the code that restricts it, and we have never had a problem with it before. If someone did park there, there is nothing in the code to enforce it.”

The council was in consensus to leave the code as is when it comes to the public parking at Town Hall after business hours, but to install signage stating when public parking is allowed.

Nautical Lights Proposed

On behalf of the Business Development Committee, Bryan Reed of Public Works requested the town’s holiday nautical lights be installed on the power poles along Route 1 during the summer season as well as during the holidays.

“Their concept was it would set Fenwick apart from the other beach towns and enhance the lighting in front of their establishments,” Reed said.

Councilwoman Diane Tingle furthered, at one time Delmarva Power, who owns the power poles, denied the town’s request to install banners on the poles.

“The lights that we do have are nautical and not really Christmas themed, such as lighthouses and shells, and if they were up when you come into town then you would know you were in the incorporated part of town and it would set up apart,” Tingle said.

According to Reed, Jim Smith of Delmarva Power submitted a list essentially stating what is allowed on the poles and the town’s best bet would be to install the lights instead of banners.

Weistling questioned the condition of the holiday lights, as they were purchased in 1996 and have been revamped since. A few years ago, the incandescent lights were replaced with LED lights to be more energy efficient.

The council was in consensus to review the request and research other lighting devices prior to making a decision.

Parks Fund Proposed

Town Manager Merritt Burke presented the Town Council with a resolution that would set up a dedicated Parks Fund allocating funding toward the maintenance of the Fenwick Island Community Park and the new Cannon Street Park.

“Even though both parks are not very large in size, it has come to my attention that we really don’t have a funding mechanism for maintenance and servicing of the parks,” Burke said. “Traditionally, for the Fenwick Island Community Park what we have done is sell memorial bricks for donations and that in itself has helped supplement the maintenance. However, the Community Park is weathered and the Cannon Street Park is going to need some attention sooner than later.”

Burke recommended a Park Fund similar to what was down when the council approved a dedicated Street Fund where 10 percent of the Real Estate Transfer Tax (RTT) is allocated towards maintenance of the Town’s roadways, except for the Parks Fund 5 percent of the RTT would be dedicated.

“I think that is a sufficient amount without borrowing any large capital expenses,” Burke said.

The council has previously discussed the concept during budget sessions and voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Parks Committee Funding Request

Once the resolution was passed to set up the new dedicated Parks Fund, Burke presented several funding requests put forth by the Parks Committee to enhance the Fenwick Island Community Park.

The committee requested about $8,400 to upgrade landscaping, $7,500 to replace the gazebo, and not to exceed $11,000 to replace the wooden mulch with rubber mulch, which entails excavation work.

Burke noted the committee has decided to remove the existing lighting without replacements as the park is not to be open after sunset. Also, so far through a Sussex County Infrastructure Grant the fence and playground toys have been replaced, as well as a vegetable garden was added.

The requests come to a total of $25,000. This year the Town received $335,000 in RTT.

The council voted unanimously to approve the requests.