Town Scores $350K For Dredging Project

FENWICK ISLAND – A $350,000 grant award will allow the town to move forward with dredging activities in the Little Assawoman Bay.

In a Fenwick Island Town Council meeting last Friday, Councilman Bill Rymer, chair of the town’s dredging committee, announced the municipality had been granted a $350,000 award from the Delaware Community Reinvestment Fund to support ongoing dredging activities.

“We got confirmation two weeks ago that our town was granted a $350,000 award to support our dredging activities,” he said. “There were a lot of people involved in making that happen, and I want to certainly recognize [Rep.] Ron Gray’s efforts in supporting our community.”

This year, $90 million has been allocated to the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) for community redevelopment, revitalization and investment capital projects which will improve the economic, cultural, historical or recreational health of Delaware’s communities.

And in April, the town filed an application with the state requesting $350,000 in CRF funding to support its dredging and material beneficial use project within the Little Assawoman Bay.

“This is a specific request to support dredging,” Rymer said last week.

Officials also recognized Gray for supporting the town in its efforts to secure grant funding. Mayor Vicki Carmean noted the dredging project is one of many the representative has supported at the state level.

“Ron Gray’s been very helpful over the years with the sidewalk and the dredging,” she said.

Plans for a dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay began in earnest in 2018, when the town hired Tony Pratt, former administrator for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), to guide them through the funding and permitting processes.

By the following year, Anchor QEA, a Lewes-based engineering firm, was brought on board to provide design, bidding and construction management services.

In 2021, committee members began exploring sites on which to deposit material from a proposed dredging project.

While the committee first proposed a project with Seatowne, a nearby community which would use Fenwick’s dredged material for a wetland restoration project, officials agreed to also gather cost estimates of using areas such as Seal Island or the nearby kayak launch as a proposed deposit site.

“These three cost estimates are all pretty similar …,” Rymer said last month. “Each is within roughly $200,000 of each other.”

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.