Millville Streetscape project design completed

The Town of Millville held its monthly town council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at which representatives from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) presented the preliminary plans for the first phase of the town’s streetscape project.

“Several years ago, we came up with the idea of connectivity of the town. Our town is bisected by a major road, Route 26, and it seems difficult to get to one side to the other. Most of the neighborhoods are off of Route 26. Our idea for safety, for convenience, to get cars off the road, for just plain exercise, was to connect our side roads with Route 26,” said Mayor Don Minyon.

The plan proposes a 5-foot-wide pedestrian path along the east side of Cedar Drive, from Old School Lane to Route 26, as well as along Old Mill Road from Route 26 to the entrance of Creekside.

DelDOT proposed the use of porous concrete for the sidewalks, to help with some of the drainage issues on Cedar Drive but it is not expected to solve the problem completely. The porous concrete will allow water to drain, reducing ponding and subsequent icing of the pavement during colder weather.

For porous concrete, larger stone is used to create voids within the concrete, which will create a “de facto storm water system in itself,” said chief engineer John Giangrant of Century Engineering.

The porous concrete has the same lifetime expectancy as regular concrete, approximately 20 years, but is slightly more costly, around $4.25 per square foot, as opposed to $4.

DelDOT will not maintain sidewalks, and the responsibility of repair and liability would fall on the property owners whose properties front on the walks. Residents would be responsible for shoveling and maintaining the sidewalks and would be required to repair them, if need be.

“What a lot of towns do – they have a matching program. If a homeowner needs to put in new sidewalks, the homeowner will go out and get it done, and the town pays half of it. If it comes to that point, I would hope we would do something like that for homeowners,” said Minyon.

The sidewalk paths on Cedar Drive will run for approximately a quarter-mile and for about 800 feet on Old Mill Road. Pure construction cost is estimated to be around $400,000.

Along with sidewalks, a town “focal point” will be placed on the northeast corner of Route 26 and Old Mill Road. Trees will be planted for shading, as well as a raised planter/sitting wall. The surrounding area will have a brick paver walkway, landscaping and a four-sided clock that can include the town’s logo with script saying “Town of Millville.”

The final plan for the project was submitted to DelDOT and is awaiting approval. DelDOT plans to advertise the project to send it out for bid in July of 2011. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011.

Councilman Jon Subity asked how long construction would take place.

“We’re anticipating a three to four month construction. It all depends on when we can get started. The advertisement process, by the time you advertise, it’s 30 days, and then they have 30 days to accept… There are some variables in there. We could start in September, we could start in October and depending on when we start, we’d preferably like to run through it once we start. The goal is to finish it in the fall, but it could go into the spring,” said chief engineer Jill Frey of Century Engineering.

Posters from DelDOT’s presentation on the streetscape project will be on display at town hall for residents to view during normal business hours.

Councilman Mike Jeffers on Tuesday gave council an update on the town’s Design Standards and Guidelines, which Planning and Zoning commissioners have been working on with the help of URS Corporation. The standards and guidelines will be for commercial building and will set some standards that the town will provide, when it is passed and if it is ever revised.

“It’s just guidance and sort of a roadmap to make certain that, as the town progresses forward – not only with these types of improvements, but as we see more development both residentially and commercially – that it all makes sense and works together,” said Jeffers.

The documents include such guidelines as how parking lots may be laid out and what materials may be used. Jeffers noted that the guidelines would “make our communities cohesive instead of small little entities.”

Council was presented with the proposed guidelines at the meeting and will review them for discussion at a future meeting.

In other town news:

• On Sept. 22 at 7:30 a.m., the town will resume their Business Persons Breakfasts, which will be held at town hall.

• On Sept. 25 from 8 a.m. to noon, the town will hold “Dumpster Days,” in the town’s parking lot. Town residents are welcome to bring trash items too large to be collected elsewhere, but no tires or chemicals will be accepted. Data shredding will also be available for sensitive documents residents desire to have shredded.

• The town will begin using pre-recorded phone calls to inform residents and business owners about upcoming town events. The mayor said this is a good way for the town to communicate with its residents and at an inexpensive price, as each call costs 7 cents.

• The next town council meeting will be held Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in town hall.