Fenwick committee discusses new public safety building

A designated public safety building is a little closer to reality in the Town of Fenwick Island, although much still needs to be decided on the issue. Mayor Audrey Serio noted that it is something the town has talked about for years, and on Monday, the town’s Public Safety Building Committee had a meeting to discuss their next steps to make it a reality.

The committee discussed several possibilities. One would be a building attached in some way to the building behind town hall on which the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company currently has a 99-year lease for its Station No. 2. A second option is building a completely separate structure.

“We have been working with the fire company, who leases the property behind us, to be able to come to an agreement of using the north end of that building and having this building be a brother/sister building,” explained the mayor. “And we also felt we needed to take steps to possibly build something independent of that site. But we definitely have to do something. We have to make a decision.”

The committee discussed issues such as whether a sewer line would need to be moved in order for one of the proposed ideas to be feasible and checking out the current lease with the fire company to avoid any confusion in the future. Regarding a proposal of some type of connection to the fire company building, councilman and committee member Bill Weistling Jr. asked if they knew what was in the lease with the fire company.

“Is it possible the fire company could pull out and rent it to Sunsations or something?” he asked.

“That’s a good question,” added councilman and committee member Gene Langan.

The committee decided that Langan would find the lease to see what, if anything, it has in there about the possibility of the fire company subletting the property. Weistling explained that the answer they received regarding the feasibility and cost of moving a sewer line could have an impact on their decision to go with one proposal type over another, so he was to contact a plumber to see about the cost and feasibility of that.

Councilman and committee member Todd Smallwood also asked if they could check on the possibility of a geothermal heating and air conditioning system to make the building as “green” as possible. Police Chief William Boyden had plans to check if an existing propane tank could be replaced with a smaller one and/or buried.

The committee plans to come back with the information they gather so they can be sure they are comparing “apples to apples” in considering the direction they want to go regarding placement of the structure, the type of building, timeline, prices and bids. The committee decided to tentatively meet again on Monday, March 22, at 10 a.m.