Millsboro Town Center

Millsboro Town Center serves as a town hall, museum and convention center, at the corner of Wilson Highway and Mitchell Street, shown here in 2013.

The Millsboro Town Council, at the Monday, Aug. 3, meeting, applauded Millsboro Police Officer John Wharton, who received a Lifesaving Award after being nominated by a fellow officer.

Wharton saved a citizen’s life by administering Narcan after he responded to a call for an overdose in Millsboro on July 15. When he arrived, the person was unconscious and not breathing but recovered due to the naloxone. At the Town Council meeting, Wharton’s girlfriend attached a police-issued pin, to honor him, to his uniform.

“John is doing a great job for us,” Calloway said, adding that Officer Matthew Dufour had nominated Wharton.

Also that evening, the town council approved the promotion of Wharton to Patrolman First Class, at Calloway’s recommendation. Calloway explained an officer is eligible for that promotion after serving two years and completing training.

Grant money allocation

At Calloway’s request, the town council approved using $30,000 in revenue grant money for Fiscal Year 2021 by spending $6,125 on Watch Guard Cloud Service; $3,150 on a Watch Guard body camera warranty; $5,724 for an Axon Taser Plan, 12 units; $501 for one Axon Taser plan, one unit; $6,210.22 for Dell server and tapes; $1,708 for Lexipol online training service; $2,057.02 for two automated external defibrillators; $500 for one WatchGuard installation; $1,300 for four new station phones, installation and licenses $1,089.73 for a Dell computer; and $1,635.03 for Advan-Tech Camera service plan.

The town council also approved the police department using Delaware Criminal Justice Council’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental funding grant money, allocated to “address current response efforts and immediate critical needs and resources to the major parts of the criminal justice system to ensure safety, coronavirus prevention, preparation, response efforts and continued operations.”

The Millsboro Police Department is eligible to receive up to $23,000 in grant money for COVID-19.

Calloway requested using the money to purchase a Trafcon signage board trailer at a cost of $15,000 and to buy 100 traffic cones. Calloway said the police department had to borrow cones from the Delaware Department of Transportation to use during a coronavirus testing event because the police department did not have enough cones.

Fire department lauded

Mayor Michelle Truitt praised Millsboro Fire Company and EMT staff for their assistance at the Millsboro Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Aug. 1. Truitt said a woman in her 80s accidentally locked her keys in her car. Truitt called for help and said the EMTs were able to unlock the vehicle, and the woman was grateful.

“It was a wonderful thing,” Truitt said.

Street lighting and Christmas lighting

Town Manager Sheldon Hudson discussed the addition of new street lights to existing utility poles on the northwest side of Route 24, from Kendall Street to Plantation Lakes.

“I believe they are shooting for this fiscal year but hoping it will be sooner. They are striving for between now and next summer,” Hudson said, referring to Delmarva Power. He said he doesn’t believe there will be any installation costs to the town.

“It will help with safety and making sure those on the west side of town feel more integrated,” he said.

The town could also have Christmas lights on utility poles by Christmas 2021.

“We have to get permission from Delmarva Power and electrical work has to be done to get power to those decorations,” Hudson said, adding the town has Christmas lights on Washington and Main streets.

Railroad upgrade discussed

Bill Conway from Century Engineering explained a project to upgrade the railroad tracks in Millsboro and requested approval to work around the clock.

Improvements will involve replacing warning signals, installing an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk and removing sidewalks in the median. The idea is to eliminate sidewalks in the middle and just have them on the Town Hall side of the road, Conway said.

Hudson said the Town wants the option of “making sure we aren’t depriving ourselves of having sidewalks later,” so the Council asked Conway to return for further discussion at a future meeting.

Conway said the project will also involve properly installing railroad crossings, with the entire crossing replaced “so water won’t sit there anymore and it will be fixed correctly.”

The project is scheduled to begin in October, and work will require closing Main and Washington Streets at the railroad crossing. The Council agreed to grant the contractor permission to work 24 hours each day, to reduce the project duration from 14 days to eight to 10 days.

Some intermittent lane closures might be necessary later to perform punch list work, Conway said.

Replying to a question from the Council, Conway said the earliest the project would begin is Thursday, Oct. 1, adding railroad traffic is lighter on Thursdays. He asked if any special events are planned in town during October, and Truitt said there will be a Halloween celebration.

DuPont Boulevard speed limit

The Council approved Hudson and Calloway making a request to the Delaware Department of Transportation to make the speed limit on DuPont Boulevard (Route 113) a consistent 50 mph from Dickerson Road north to Sheep Penn Road.

Currently, the speed limit fluctuates from 50 mph to 55 mph along that highway.

DelDOT has the final said, Hudson say, but the Council indicated its desire for the consistency, with Councilman Larry Gum saying making the change is “long overdue.”

Dog park

Now that Millsboro’s new dog park is finished and has proven to be popular, Councilman James Kells suggested asking an organization, maybe one with a 501(c)(3) designation, to manage aspects of the park or possibly maintain it or offer additional amenities.

The town would retain ownership of the park. The matter will be further discussed at a future meeting.

Plantation Lakes site plans approved

The Council approved the preliminary site plan for Section D of Plantation Lakes. This section is planned for north of Betts Pond, near Sheep Pen Road.

The section will have 82 single-family homes and 52 other units, with 382 parking spaces, excluding parking in residential garages. Open space has been incorporated into the plan.

The first section of single-family homes will overlook Betts Pond, and some units will face the pond and overlook the golf clubhouse.

Hudson asked that picnic tables be added and that one of two pickleball courts be designated instead for beach volleyball.

“We’re a family friendly community,” Hudson said, emphasizing the need for diversity and offering amenities for residents of all ages. He also suggested a flex court with accommodations for cornhole instead of a court that can only be used for bocce ball.

The matter will again be discussed at a future meeting.

Dunkin’ Donuts traffic

To help eliminate traffic backing up onto Old Landing Road, the owner of Dunkin’ Donuts in Millsboro has agreed to eliminate the storm water pond and add subsurface retention to collect water, allowing space for more cars on the site. He is also planning for two drive-through lanes instead of one.

Calloway said the changes would be “a tremendous improvement.”

“We are there daily. What is interesting is it’s not only the morning,” Calloway said of the traffic back-ups.

Council members have discussed the matter at least since last November, when they approved a “No Stopping, Standing or Parking” restriction to alleviate the problem of cars stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts, waiting at the drive-through and overflowing onto Old Landing Road, and sometimes Route 113 northbound.

Calloway has said the drive-through can accommodate about 10 cars, then the remainder park on Old Landing Road until spilling onto the highway. It’s busiest on Friday mornings, he said.

“Officers make people move to clear the highway. I’ve either had people commend us, or shout at us,” he said.

Farmers’ Market to continue through end of September

Millsboro Farmers’ Market, now home to about 10 vendors selling items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, pies and greeting cards, will continue until the last Saturday in September and reopen next spring.

“The Town appreciates the vendors’ dedication and interest,” Hudson said.

The Farmers’ Market, started in June at the urging of Truitt, has vendors including Honey Bee Lake Apiaries, Hempworx, Fresh Harvest Hydroponics, Parsons Farms, The Point Coffee & Bakery, Adkins Produce and Van Auken Fudge.

It is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon at the Millsboro Town Center parking lot.

Staff Reporter

Veteran news reporter Susan Canfora has written for many newspapers and held positions ranging from managing editor to her favorite, news reporter. She joined the Coastal Point in June 2019. She teaches college writing, tutors and professionally edits.