FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island are revisiting a long-lived discussion on sidewalks.
In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting last week, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean called on town officials to jumpstart a committee that will look into sidewalk construction along the resort’s main corridor.
“I would like to see some action taken on the sidewalk issue,” she said. “I think it’s time for the town to move forward. I would like to see a steering committee formed to begin to address what needs to be done.”
Though many newly constructed commercial buildings in town have sidewalks, Carmean expressed a desire to establish a complete sidewalk system throughout town. She said at least six blocks are without a proper walkway.
Carmean said the long-standing issue has existed for several years, but with little progress.
“It goes back to when I first came on the council maybe 15 years ago,” she said. “Then it has been discussed on and off and our mayor ran on it a couple of years ago. We’ve talked informally with people and everybody’s in agreement.”
Mayor Gene Langan applauded the effort to form a committee.
“I think that’s a great idea,” he said.
Councilman Richard Mais, chair of the town’s ad hoc financial committee, explained that the group has discussed ways to fund sidewalks in some of its meetings, but added that the price for constructing a sidewalk remains high.
“It’s actually a lot more expensive than you would imagine,” he said.
Carmean expressed her frustration to the delay.
“I’ve been hearing about it for 15 years,” she said. “We all have. It was cheaper then.”
In related news, Councilwoman Julie Lee added that the ad hoc financial committee was looking for guidance to earmark certain funds.
“At the May ad hoc financial committee meeting, a motion was passed to seek specific guidance and recommendations from the council concerning amounts of money and specific areas in which that money should be earmarked,” she said.
Lee explained that the council could be the ones to direct the committee on how best to earmark certain funds, including those for sidewalks.
“I think it’s important that the council provide this very specific guidance to ad hoc financial because otherwise we can bat around ideas of ways to do this or ways to raise money or how it can be used, but I think the council really needs to be the ones to kind of set it in the right direction,” she said.
Lee proposed placing the issue on the agenda or in a work group.
“I think we’ll have a better feel for this after the state finishes their budgeting process,” Mais added.