FENWICK ISLAND – Planning is now underway for a continuous sidewalk system in Fenwick Island.
In a meeting of the Fenwick Island Pedestrian Safety Committee this week, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean announced the town is working with The Kercher Group, an engineering firm, to finalize cost estimates and plans for the first phase of a sidewalk construction project.
“Right now, they have the go-ahead to start working on the figures and the plans,” she said. “Then they are going to come up with an estimate.”
Town Manager Terry Tieman said the first phase of the project would most likely take place in the five bayside blocks south of James Street.
“They think that’s where we’ll get the most connectivity with what we’ve already got,” she said.
The town, however, would first need to put the project out to bid and select a contractor.
“I wish I could say we are shovel ready, but we are not quite that ready,” Carmean said. “We have to work through Kercher first. They said they are busy, but they have started the process.”
Committee member Lauren Weaver questioned when the project would be put out to bid.
“I’m hoping it’s no later than November,” Carmean replied. “I really think we need to push on this. We’ve been ready for 17 years.”
Carmean added she would continue to update the committee on the engineering firm’s progress. She also shared plans to add Senator Gerald Hocker and Representative Ron Gray as advisory members of the committee.
“I think we need them involved,” Councilman Gardner Bunting said.
In recent months, the committee worked alongside Gray to secure $250,000 from the state’s bond bill for the first phase of the sidewalk construction project. But Carmean said she had no plans of stopping there.
“It might be too soon, but I also think we need to continue to ask for money to complete this project,” she said. “I doubt we will have enough to finish it.”
Tieman, however, said the town could seek community transportation funding once engineering estimates are complete.
Councilman Bill Weistling also questioned if the town should also pursue funding from the county.
“In terms of asking them for help for our part of it, I think the county would need to have that before the budget process,” Tieman replied. “If we can get Kercher to give us estimates for the next few sections then we can submit it to the county for consideration.”
Carmean told the committee the town would approach property owners once plans are complete.