Millsboro moving forward on downtown upgrades

Millsboro’s downtown district is about to get a makeover, thanks to a plan approved by town council members earlier this month.

The council authorized Town Manager Sheldon P. Hudson to begin the process of collecting bids to work on three specific projects: the Main Street improvements project, the downtown demolition project and the West State Street sidewalk project. Hudson said he would reach out to the Town’s consultants, Davis, Bowen & Friedel, and George, Miles & Buhr, to begin that bidding process.

“I’d suspect we’ll have something this spring,” said Hudson when asked when the results of the bidding process would come to light.

The Main Street improvements project will include work on pavers, sidewalks and lights, and Davis, Bowen & Friedel is helping the Town with that effort. Hudson said he wasn’t sure what the total cost for that project would be until the bidding process is over — but he said that the Town has $275,000 earmarked toward it in this year’s budget, and the work could be done in phases, according to cost. He added that officials were prepared for a final cost somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million, when it is completed.

Davis, Bowen & Friedel are also consulting on the downtown demolition project. The Town had previously purchased the former re-sale building next to the Town’s current police station, with plans on building a new, updated police station in that spot.

The Town also settled earlier this week on the purchase of the former Millsboro Auto Supply property nearby, according to Hudson, and a new plan has popped up recently that would involve the police department moving in to the current Millsboro Town Center and Town offices moving into a new civic building to be built where the police department currently sits.

“We’re early in that process,” explained Hudson. “The mayor [John Thoroughgood] suggested this as an option, and the council, as well as the administration, really likes the idea.”

Hudson explained that the current Millsboro Town Center offers easier exits to all points in Millsboro for the police department than they currently have being downtown, and that a new administrative building at the eastern entrance into town would offer aesthetic advantages for people entering Millsboro.

George, Miles & Buhr is consulting for the Town in regards to the West State Street sidewalk project, said Hudson. That plan carries an estimated cost of $225,000, according to Hudson, and will be paid via a mix of Town and State monies, with help from state Rep. Rich Collins.

“We are extremely grateful for all the help Rep. Collins continues to provide the Town,” said Hudson.

In other Millsboro news, Hudson announced that 48 building permits for new homes were issued by the Town in January 2019 alone. Hudson explained that the U.S. Census typically uses 2.9 people per home in population estimates, but he offered a conservative figure of those 48 homes translating into roughly 100 people moving into the town.

Hudson added that Millsboro ranks first out of 25 municipalities in Sussex County for number of residential building permits issued, and that Sussex County is the fastest-growing of Delaware’s three counties.

“It’s an exciting time for Millsboro,” said Hudson. “We’ve obviously seen a lot of growth in Plantation Lakes, but we’re seeing new homes go up in other parts of town as well. That’s a good sign.”

 

By Darin J. McCann

Executive Editor