People may soon be able to access the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal from Grove Park in Rehoboth Beach, but it appears it will come at the cost of an observation deck that stood at the top of the canal embankment.
In an email May 15, Rehoboth Public Works Director Kevin Williams said during excavation for the ramps for the new canal access dock, the foundation for the observation deck was found to be improperly constructed. As such, he said, it was unsafe to preserve it, so the contractor removed it.
Williams said the cost associated with the removal of the deck was about $7,300. He said no decision has been made about building a new observation deck.
Nancy Alexander, Rehoboth Beach Museum executive director, could not provide the date the old deck was built, but she said it had been there since 2007 when she started working at the museum.
The removal of the observation deck is the second unforeseen issue since construction of the dock began in early April. The city also relocated a Verizon utility line, at a cost of about $6,200.
The city is in charge of construction, but the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Improvement Association, a nonprofit proponent of the project, has raised over $1 million toward the $1.25 million project. In February, after insisting it for years the city would not pay for the project, city officials committed $280,000 of this year’s budget toward the project because of a fast-approaching deadline to award a contract.
Williams said, at this time, the city is aware of no other construction issues. He said he doesn’t expect the project to go over budget, and he doesn’t anticipate any impact to the contract completion date, which is the end of November.
The city’s financial commitment was also contingent on a signed memorandum of understanding between the city and the canal improvement association. During a commissioner meeting May 15, Commissioner Susan Gay requested the MOU be made available as soon as possible because the commissioners had not yet seen it.