Fenwick Island Gets Sidewalk Commitment

FENWICK ISLAND – A Fenwick Island committee will soon meet to decide on a course of action after receiving a letter from the state identifying funding for the town’s sidewalk project.

Last month, the Fenwick Island Pedestrian Safety Committee met for the first time since the town learned it had received $250,000 from the state’s bond bill to discuss how it would proceed with the first phase of a sidewalk construction project along Coastal Highway.

Without a quorum, however, the committee could not vote on a course of action. But the group did agree to wait until it received a formal letter from the Office of the Controller General outlining how the town could use the state funding for the project.

In a town council meeting last Friday, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean, who chairs the committee, announced the town received a notice from the state.

“We are not going to be getting a big check for $250,000 to sit in our bank account,” she said. “We are going to have to get started with the construction. We are working with Kercher Engineering and they are going to control what happens and then the bills will be submitted in a systematic way to the state. It’s not like we can really touch this money until we use it.”

Carmean said the committee would convene in the coming weeks to move forward with a strategy for completing the first phase of the sidewalk project.

“This is the letter we’ve been waiting for, the official indication we do have the money,” she said. “It’s important for me and the town to have a committee meeting and a quorum because there are some decisions that need to be made.”

Earlier this year, the Delaware Department of Transportation presented town officials with a $10 million cost estimate to complete two miles of sidewalk along the town’s main corridor. While the town would be responsible for funding 20%, or roughly $2 million, of the project, the committee at the time agreed to pursue a town-led project in the hopes of saving money.

A preliminary report from Kercher estimated construction to cost $496,266 for the first phase of the project, which includes six blocks on the west side of Coastal Highway from James to Essex streets.

“Thank you to everybody who’s worked on this,” Carmean said last week. “Everyone has been on board and it’s been a real positive experience.”

Mayor Gene Langan agreed.

“We just got the letter from the state last week,” he said. “It really made it official and doesn’t seem to have a lot of strings attached. This is good.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.