Ocean View pedestrian-, bike-safety campaign to kick off in spring

A crab logo and the message “Arrive alive in DE” will be used in Ocean View’s new bicycle and pedestrian safety campaign, beginning in the spring.

The logo and message were finalized when the Town’s Planning, Zoning & Development staff met with Police Chief Ken McLaughlin on Nov. 19.

Also attending the meeting were representatives from the towns of Bethany Beach, South Bethany, Fenwick Island and Millville, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Ken Cimino, director of the department, told the Ocean View Town Council at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

The next pedestrian safety meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

When bicycle and pedestrian safety was discussed at the September meeting, the town council approved $35,000 for a traffic safety project. Cimino explained it will have three parts — studying and evaluating strategies, and completing traffic counts; a comprehensive bicycle safety plan targeting Route 26; and investigation and implementation of strategies to address reckless driving through neighborhoods.

Cimino said the bicycle safety portion will be handled jointly by his office and the police department, and involve outreach and education. Print and radio advertising, to raise awareness, will begin on April 3, 2020, and continue until Sept. 25, 2020, at a cost of $6,000.

In conjunction with the Delaware Department of Transportation, warning signs will be erected in town.

Cimino said that, as roads become more congested during the busy summer tourist season, eager drivers cut through local streets and move too fast.

“Aggressive driving and disrespect call for measures to return our streets to safety, calm and livable environments,” Cimino said.

Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran, at the September council meeting, called the matter “very serious stuff.”

“This involves accidents. Accidents involve people. Probably the most complaints we’ve gotten in the past couple years is about bicycle and traffic safety. … This Town is here to take care of its citizens and the people who visit here,” Curran said.

 

Comprehensive plan

 

Public comment on the Town’s updated comprehensive plan will be accepted until Jan. 16, 2020.

Residents who commented at Ocean View’s Halloween event, Cops & Goblins, approved of goals in the plan and suggested locations for walking area improvements, Cimino told the town council. Residents provided feedback regarding design guidelines and voted to rename the general business district as the Town Center.

Those recommendations were incorporated into the draft plan.

On Nov. 20, the Town’s consultant, AECOM, submitted the initial completed draft of the plan to the Town. It has also been submitted to the Towns of Millville, Bethany and South Bethany, as well as to Sussex County and the State for review.

On Dec. 2, there was a workshop about the draft, with more public comments accepted.

Cimino introduced AECOM municipal planner Savannah Edwards, who explained that the plan, mandated by the State, is a valuable tool for the community. Goals include managing growth, fostering a stronger sense of community by identifying unique features, encouraging more community events and acquiring more community gathering spaces, Edwards said.

Additional goals are expanding streetscaping along Route 26, restricting commercial growth to that corridor, increasing the town’s multi-modal transportation offerings by extending sidewalks and off-road pedestrian corridors; examining transportation options; and protecting natural and recreational resources, she said.

Curran said public participation was “much more than I expected.”

“I think that’s terrific, because there will always be a handful that said, ‘I didn’t know what was going on.’ We’ll still get a few of those,” he said.

During the public-comments portion of the meeting, Ocean View resident John Reddington said the mission statement is longer than the vision statement and suggested adding visions, such as embracing history to manage growth and protecting natural resources while protecting character, along with describing the town as “the best in Delaware to live, work, worship and play.”

He said concisely worded visions are ideal to put on signs.

The comprehensive plan will be voted on and adopted at an upcoming meeting.

 

Drainage improvements

 

Design continues for drainage improvement projects in Country Village and Country Estates and at The Cottages, and for sidewalk improvement along West Avenue between Route 26 and John West Park, Cimino told the town council.

Design of improvements for Hudson Avenue culvert replacement will resume now that the Town has been informed it didn’t receive the Surface Water matching grant from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, he said.

Concerning curb repair at Bear Trap Dunes. Cimino said two bids were received. The lowest was from A-DEL Construction for an amount not to exceed $22,100. That project is under way and funded in the Operations Budget for the 2020 fiscal year, under Repairs & Maintenance, Sidewalk Repairs, with $147,000 available.

The Seagrass Lane Pipe Repair project, in The Preserve at Ocean View, has been completed.

 

Police report

 

Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin, during his monthly update to the town council, reported:

• Naloxone training was scheduled at the police department on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.

McLaughlin said there was a recent overdose responded to by a police officer.

“We’re trying to hit this drug problem from all angles, and I can tell you, it’s keeping us very busy,” he said.

• He assisted the Town of Frankford with interviews for the police chief’s position. The position has now been filled.

• Police department representatives participated in the annual Delaware Emergency Management Planning Workshop in Dover and met with officials from the Southeast Sussex Ministerium to finalize plans for the Stone House Code Purple Shelter, which opened in Bethany Beach on Dec. 1.

• He attended a traffic safety meeting at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.

• Police department volunteers logged 176 hours of service in November. Active for the past 20 years, “They are invaluable, and we can’t thank them enough,” McLaughlin said.

 

Police praised

 

Ocean View Town Councilman Tom Maly commended police officers for regularly visiting and checking on a local resident during her illness. When she died recently, six officers attended her funeral, and some were pallbearers.

“They visited her almost daily. They visited her in the hospital. Her obituary was in Coastal Point newspaper, and they were mentioned in the obituary. That says a lot about the staff,” McLaughlin said.

“This is the norm for your staff, to get involved in a personal situation. That is credit to you, that we have such caring offices,” Councilman Frank Twardzik said.

“We’ve got the best team around,” McLaughlin replied.

 

Mutual agreement passed

 

The town council unanimously approved the Mutual Assistance Agreement between the Ocean View Police Department and police departments in Fenwick Island, Ocean View and South Bethany.

Curran explained that the agreement is not the makings of a regional police force, but an exercise in cooperation “with our neighbors.”

Maly asked McLaughlin if the Bethany Beach Police Department will participate, and McLaughlin said they have no interest at this time.

 

Town manager’s report

 

Ocean View Town Manager Carol Houck, during her monthly report to the town council, said the project to improve turf at John West Park started on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Sod was delivered and was to be placed this week, depending on the weather. R&L Irrigation was awarded the contract by the town council in November. Houck said areas in the park will be closed during the project, and those closures will be posted.

Houck pronounced the Old Town Holiday Market & Tree Lighting, at John West Park on Nov. 30, a success.

“There are so many people to thank,” she said, listing not only the mayor and town council, but also police, volunteers, town staff and everyone who provided “wonderful assistance.”

“Everybody went the extra mile,” she said.

She introduced John Reddington, who served as Santa Claus, and thanked young Trey Parks for serving as his elf.

“We couldn’t have done it without all the partners. Thank you, mayor and council, for supporting the effort. I think the community sees it as a favorable event,” she said.

“It was a truly great event,” Curran said, also thanking Reddington for accepting the role of Santa Claus the past three years.

 

By Susan Canfora
Staff Reporter