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Rehoboth officials say walkway will be built during City Hall finishes

Avenue sidewalk to remain open
Rehoboth Beach officials have reversed course and now say a walkway will be constructed on the north side of Rehoboth Avenue, and that a section of sidewalk in front of the new City Hall will not be closed for up to three weeks as contractors finish the front of the building. RYAN MAVITY PHOTO
July 17, 2017

Rehoboth Beach officials have reversed course.

They now say a walkway will be constructed adjacent to the new City Hall as the front of the new building is finished.

The new plan will allow pedestrian access on the north side of Rehoboth Avenue during the three-week project, which is scheduled to begin on or around Monday, July 17.

“As much of the sidewalk will be open as possible and the walkway will facilitate pedestrians. While paving is being done at the sidewalk there will be other detours as determined,” said City Manager Sharon Lynn.

She said work will occur from the corner of the west driveway - the old entrance to the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center - to the east corner of Third Street, which is between City Hall and the Rehoboth fire hall.

Contractor Corrado Construction will be doing grading, roof drain, sidewalks and curbs, and stair work on the front of City Hall. Lynn said a portion of the sidewalk will be fenced off at the construction site but will not affect City Hall Drive or the driveway for a house that is next to the west parking lot entrance. Commissioner Stan Mills said the bus stop in front of City Hall would not be affected.

A pedestrian walkway would be located next to the fence, she said, although detours could still come into play. Originally, pedestrians were going to be rerouted using the crosswalk at Second Street and at the crosswalks near the Summer House restaurant, but at the city commissioners’ July 10 workshop, Commissioner Patrick Gossett asked city and construction officials to think of alternatives. Lynn said at this time, she does not know where, if any, additional detours would be located.

“Any detour will be carefully thought out with safety for all concerned. I’m not yet certain when the contractor will be working on the sidewalk at the west end of the site,” she said.

The sidewalk plan came under fire at the July 10 commissioners’ meeting for the late way it was sprung on the commissioners and the public. Lynn said funding for the work in front of City Hall is coming from the overall project budget. Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman C.R. McLeod said the city did not contact DelDOT about the project and is not involved with the sidewalk work.  

Commissioner Kathy McGuiness, who was vocal at the July 10 meeting about the sudden notice of the sidewalk possibly closing, said while she was delighted the sidewalk will remain open to pedestrians, she again was critical about the process of how it got there.

“I’m disappointed in the lack of inclusiveness,” she said.

McGuiness said the city wasted time and money trying to decide how the project would be done, in secret, when it should have come before the commissioners for input.

“We could have been doing this in the first place,” she said. “I’m hopeful in the future that this will come before the commissioners and not be in the hands of a few.”