FENWICK ISLAND – A request to seek funding for a engineering study will advance to the Fenwick Island Town Council.
At a recent meeting of the Fenwick Island Infrastructure Committee, members voted unanimously to forward a request to seek grant funding to the town council with a favorable recommendation. Councilman Richard Benn, committee chair, said grant funding would be used to develop an engineering study to make Fenwick Island more resilient.
“The deadline for these grants is February 1, so we don’t have a lot of time,” he told committee members. “My proposal is that we recommend to council that we seek out a grant to do a microlevel engineering study to make our town more resilient to sea level rise.”
In 2021, the town contracted with AECOM to conduct a resiliency study, which outlined short- and long-term solutions to sea level rise and flooding. And in August, the infrastructure committee held an information session, during which officials collected feedback from the public on topics such as drainage, bulkhead height and funding.
In a recent update regarding the town’s resiliency efforts, Benn told the committee he and committee member Susan Brennan had met with the University of Delaware’s grant assistance program regarding grant funds that had recently become available. He said that funding could allow the town to complete an engineering study.
“The engineering study will help us specifically,” he said. “When you read the four-foot recommendation for raising the bulkheads in the AECOM resiliency study, it’s kind of not a hard number … I really feel like we need to harden our infrastructure, harden us against this. So we really need a firm that has a lot of experience in sea level rise.”
In order to seek grant funding, Benn told committee members the town must first seek cost estimates from engineering companies. Committee members ultimately agreed to seek proposals from several firms, including AECOM, Stantec and Arcadin.
“We need a better estimate of the cost,” Benn said.
For her part, Brennan said officials with the grant assistance program were impressed with the town’s recent resiliency study and information session. She said those actions would help the town secure grant funding.
“All those pieces helped to put the town in a good spot for grant funding, especially for this particular situation,” she said.
With no further discussion, the committee voted unanimously to forward the grant funding request to the town council with a favorable recommendation.