Interior and exterior repairs and enhancements are underway for the Dewey Beach Life Saving Station.
“It's occurring as we speak,” said Marc Appelbaum, town manager, from his desk April 16.
The town has been somewhat derelict in keeping up with the building's maintenance, Appelbaum said, but keeping up with repairs is essential because small problems become larger, more expensive problems if they aren't addressed in a timely manner. The work is budgeted at $70,000.
“We have the money. The time to do something is now,” he said. “We can afford it.”
The list of interior improvements includes new paint, 10 executive chairs, 50 assembly chairs, the installation of a kitchenette and new flooring.
Exterior improvements call for the replacement of windows and rotted trim, a new deck and ramp, new storm shutters, and the fixing of leaks in the roof.
Appelbaum said the estimated cost for the improvements came in close to $58,000, which means the budgeted amount should be enough to account for any unanticipated changes.
The money for the improvements is coming from $208,000 of surplus revenue the town saw in fiscal year 2013. That money was divided equally three ways between these improvements, technology upgrades and town's rainy day fund.
Dewey Beach Patrol Capt. Todd Fritchman said he applauds the town manager for pushing forward with improvements. He said for a number of years he has been recommending these improvements when handing in his final statistics at the end of the season.
“We're very grateful,” said Fritchman.
Fritchman said the new flooring and the addition of the kitchenette will allow the building to be a more dynamic space. For the members of his crew, a kitchenette offers a comfortable space during breaks from the hot summer sun, and a new floor will be more practical during emergency rescue situations.
Fritchman said the building's leaky roof is a problem to the patrol's emergency communication equipment. During severe weather, they've had to move the equipment to a location that's more water tight, he said.
These improvements will allow us to work more efficiently, Fritchman said.
The improvements will also make people more comfortable. Fritchman said he knows the members of his crew will perform their duties regardless of their home office, but having a building that's in good condition can help calm a distressed person.
“It just makes people feel better,” he said.
Appelbaum said he's expecting the work the be completed by Memorial Day.