Fenwick purchases land for park

The Town of Fenwick Island went to settlement this week on the purchase of a lot on Cannon Street that will allow the town to expand its park amenities.

Town Manager Win Abobtt said the lot, which sits behind the Public Works building on Cannon Street, is 50 feet wide and 120 feet deep and has an existing dock. In order to fulfill the stated purpose of the grant they received from the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund, through DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation, Abbot said the lot will have canoe and kayaking trailheads with accessibility to the water.

The Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund (DTF) was established in 1986 as an investment of state money to provide an annual source of funding for the “acquisition of open space and the development of outdoor recreation projects.” According to the State, since then, the fund has provided more than $15 million in matching grant assistance to local governments throughout Delaware. Only county and municipal governments and park districts may sponsor grants and receive grant assistance.

Abbot explained that the town’s Environmental Committee is now exploring grant opportunities for trees for the area and are engaged in discussions with the Center for the Inland Bays regarding a possible rain garden demonstration project – something the town has been considering for some time and, until now, had not found a spot for that would work with the water table.

The grant through the state allows the town to receive 50 percent of the value of the land back as a reimbursement. Abbot explained that the actual negotiations for the purchase were done in executive sessions of the council. Because of the grant, he said, the town was able to come to a mutually agreeable deal with the landowner.

In other Fenwick Island news:

• Lifeguards are now on the beaches full-time.

• The town held its first pedestrian and bike safety awareness session on Bunting Avenue this week.

• Budget negotiations for the 2011 fiscal year are ongoing at present.

• The town set a special council meeting to discuss the Public Safety Building Committee’s recommendations regarding architectural and engineering firms, scheduled for Thursday, June 17, at 11 a.m.