Fenwick Selects Company For Town Street Assessment

FENWICK ISLAND – The approval of an $18,000 contract will allow the town to complete a street assessment that will be used for the development of a street improvement plan.

Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to approve a contract with AECOM in the amount of $18,700 for the development of a town street assessment and capital street improvement plan.

Councilman Richard Benn, chair of the town’s Infrastructure Committee, said AECOM would assist the town in developing a plan for prioritizing, scheduling and funding needed street maintenance and improvements for a 10-year planning period.

“This is for reviewing our streets and determining a maintenance action plan going forward,” he explained. “We have 5.95 miles of road within the town of Fenwick Island.”

In recent months, members of the town’s Infrastructure Committee have discussed the need for a comprehensive plan and budget for redoing the town’s roadways. While there is currently no plan for road improvements, Benn told the committee in March he’d like to see something be done to address road maintenance.

To that end, Benn told the council last week that two companies – Mott MacDonald and AECOM – had submitted proposals for a street assessment, which will assist the town in prioritizing street projects and developing improvement schedules based on needs and finances.

“While the Mott MacDonald proposal was less expensive, the committee came to the conclusion AECOM was a more extensive proposal,” he said. “It would also give them an advantage because they are also doing our resiliency project. There were things that were transferable from both that we could use going forward, and it gives us a 10-year plan to maintain our streets, which is vastly needed.”

Benn told council members his committee was recommending the town proceed with a proposal from AECOM. Councilwoman Natalie Magdeburger noted that while it wasn’t the cheaper proposal, it was better of the two.

“I think your committee did it very well,” she said. “They didn’t go for the cheaper number but the better number, which still isn’t that high, and I wholeheartedly support where you’re going with this. I think we’re going to get a better result for Fenwick Island.”

Benn recognized his committee’s work in reviewing the proposals and developing a recommendation.

“By the end, we came to a unanimous conclusion that this was the better proposal …,” he said. “We worked hard to get to this point, and I want to thank them.”

With no further discussion, the council voted 7-0 to use $18,700 from the town’s dedicated street fund to complete an analysis of Fenwick’s roads.

“I just see a concrete direction we are going and a concrete plan to get some resolution to some of these long-standing problems,” Magdeburger said.

Councilwoman Janice Bortner, chair of the Residential Advocacy Committee, also presented the council last week with a recommendation to have the town’s Budget Committee evaluate increased parking fees.

“We feel, fiscally, it’s a good idea …,” she said. “There are different things we can look at.”

Bortner added her committee also recommended the town’s Ad Hoc Parking Committee evaluate parking hours in Fenwick. Currently, parking along the town’s side streets is free after 4 p.m.

“You would have to pay to park for a longer time during the day, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. …,” she said. “We felt that was something other towns do. We are really on the low end of that. Most of them go to 11 o’clock at night.”

As extended parking hours would impact town revenues, Magdeburger recommended the topic be sent to the Budget Committee for consideration. However, Vicki Carmean, chair of the Parking Committee, agreed to discuss the issue with members at the May meeting.

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.