Fenwick blooming with beautification projects

With spring sprung in coastal Delaware, the attention of Fenwick Island’s Beautification Committee has turned to making the town even more clean, attractive and brightly blooming. Members of the committee met Tuesday, April 5, to discuss the status of ongoing projects and near-future plans.

First on the agenda was a formal tour of the newly remodeled and redecorated ladies’ restroom in the town hall. With a final few decorative touches in place, committee members marveled at the transformation from dingy and outdated to something right out of a decorators’ magazine.

Particular thanks were given to Public Works employee Dan Heller, who completed the finishes on the project, including installing lighting and cabinetry, and worked to square uneven walls before the decorative wainscoting was installed.

Committee members also expressed appreciation for Mike’s Carpet Connection, which donated the tile for the project and provided a low-priced bid for its installation.

Council Member and committee chairwoman Vicki Carmean noted that plans were in progress for similar renovations to the men’s restroom at the town hall during the coming fiscal year.
Carmean said she had also expected work on the town’s much-touted median improvement project to start Monday, April 4. But ground (or concrete) had yet to be broken as of Tuesday morning.

The delay was chalked up to likely complications for the recent flooding rains received throughout the area, and Carmean said she expected work to start very soon.

She noted that of five or six companies indicating interest in the project, only one had submitted a bid. But contrary to expectations, the bid had proven considerably lower than the estimated cost of the project from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), which has subsequently approved the contract and the start of the project.

Carmean said public feedback on the project had been overwhelmingly positive, with very few concerns expressed. Those concerns targeted the plan’s impact on visibility at turn areas on Route 1 in the town, but Carmean said she believed the tapered shape of the medians at turn lanes would mean no visibility problems resulting from the various plantings.

Feedback from her fellow council members had been similarly positive on the idea of planting a “living fence” to screen the town’s recycling area from the nearby street, Carmean reported. She planned to proceed with getting bids and prices for installation of a hedge of Leyland cypress or arborvitae in the location. The final cost for the project will still have to be approved by the council, but they have given the concept their blessing.

Committee member Joyce Chaconas noted she hoped a similar screen could be installed to camouflage the current storage location for the town’s trash trucks. Chaconas had previously complained to town council members about the sight and smell from the trucks, and Council Member Audrey Serio has started work on finding a potential alternate location for them.

In the meantime, Chaconas said, some tall plantings or trees would go a long way toward screening the area and would continue to provide a pleasant view when and if the trucks were moved.

Trash is one ongoing subject for the committee — and one area they have not have as much success as they might have liked. Chaconas’ and Carmean’s recent presentation to the town’s Commercial Liaison Committee regarding a concept for trash and cigarette receptacles in the commercial district was not met with great support.

Thus, the two spent part of the April 5 meeting discussing whether and how to proceed with the idea. Chaconas said she felt offering smaller containers for individual businesses (provided at a reduced rate through the town) might break down some resistance to the idea on the part of business owners.

Carmean and Chaconas planned to address the idea to individual business owners in the town, hoping to receive additional input and support before taking the project further — perhaps eventually making an appeal to individual shopping center owners on behalf of their tenant businesses and the town.

Some council members had expressed support for the idea that the town could take responsibility for the pick-up of the resulting trash, Carmean noted. (The additional labor involved in keeping new trash receptacles emptied was cited as one reason for lackluster support from the Commercial Liaison members.)

Chaconas emphasized her continued support for the idea, despite the initial setback in the committee’s plan. She noted that some visitors to the town’s commercial areas were opting to toss their trash into existing wide-mouthed cigarette receptacles simply out of necessity when they were really seeking a trash can. Providing both types of receptacles might be a solution to the problem, she said.

The next meeting of the committee was set for Monday, May 2, at 10 a.m.