FENWICK ISLAND – It appears Fenwick Island is one step closer in its efforts to establish a continuous sidewalk system along its main corridor.
In a town council meeting last week, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean, chair of the pedestrian safety committee, announced that Fenwick Island and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) were moving forward with plans to fund a sidewalk construction project.
“I’m circling around and waiting for some information from DelDOT, but around noontime today we actually got an email from DelDOT and our sidewalks have landed in Fenwick,” she said. “All we need to do is figure out the finances and how much we are going to be able to cover.”
Carmean said officials with DelDOT have provided a cost estimate for the project – which she declined to discuss – but noted that 80 percent would be funded by the state and federal government.
“That leaves us with another 20 percent,” she said.
Carmean explained the town was looking to partner with the county to make the project a reality.
“There are about 10 to 12 blocks that are actually within the county, outside the town limits …,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity if the county wants to jump on board.”
Last week’s announcement comes nearly two years after Carmean first called on town officials to revisit a long-lived discussion on sidewalks.
At her suggestion, the town formed a steering committee, which communicated with DelDOT representatives regularly in hopes of moving forward with a construction project. And last April, at the request of the committee, the town agreed to fund $14,000, or 20 percent, of a study that would determine a financially feasible approach to installing a continuous sidewalk system along Coastal Highway.
In an interview this week, Town Manager Terry Tieman said officials have received a preliminary report on the study and are meeting with DelDOT representatives in the coming weeks to determine the town’s next steps.
“A report tells you so much and the next step is finding out what the implementation would be,” she said. “Will the project be broken up into sections? And if so, how? And how will the project be financed?”
While the cost and timeline remain unclear, Tieman said a sidewalk project would benefit Fenwick Island.
“Based on the congestion we have in town, there has to be another mode of transportation,” she said. “So this is a big step. We’re closer to shovel ready than we ever were.”