Dewey Beach officials learned June 30 that the town received a $3 million state grant toward the planned construction of a new town hall and police department.
The State of Delaware Fiscal Year 2023 Bond and Capital Improvements Act, known as House Bill 475, allocated $90 million for the Community Reinvestment Fund to be used for community redevelopment, revitalization and investment in capital projects to improve the economic, cultural, historical and recreational health of Delaware communities.
The Town of Dewey Beach was awarded $3 million from that fund toward its new municipal building, which town officials earlier estimated could cost $5 million to $6 million.
Town Manager Bill Zolper said the town is excited and grateful to the state for the funding.
“As you know, the Town of Dewey Beach has no property tax, so any funding the town receives from the state or federal government is greatly appreciated,” Zolper said.
The grant funds will be kept in a separate account to be used only for the new facility, Zolper said.
Town Clerk Ashleigh Sander said obtaining grants is valuable for helping the town with projects that would not otherwise be feasible.
“Without the awarded grant, we may not have been able to move forward with the completion of the project,” Sander said. “A lot of time and effort went into the grant proposal development, submission and follow-up. Grants are very competitive, and we are extremely appreciative to the State of Delaware/Bond Bill Committee, as well as those who expressed support for our project and application, Sen. Ernie Lopez, Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long.”
Sander said she also submitted a grant application in April for the Fiscal Year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending Request application to Sen. Chris Coons that would be used to build the police department portion of the building.
“We are still waiting to hear the status on that and are hopeful to receive an award from that application as well,” Sander said.
In May, town commissioners voted to select local firm George, Miles & Buhr to design a new facility to replace the current building that opened on Rodney Avenue in 1998. The town has met with GMB and discussed possible options, Zolper said.
“We are waiting for a survey to be conducted of the town's three lots, two on [southbound Route 1] and one on the current town hall/police station [property] on Rodney Avenue,” Zolper said. “Once the survey is done, the town can proceed with some draft designs. There will be an opportunity as we go through the design process for public input at a later date.”
Town officials had previously discussed demolishing the current town hall and using that space for parking and a sally port, and relocating the main entrance to town hall to the two lots on Coastal Highway. Preliminary design calls for the police department to be housed on the first floor with town hall administrative offices to be on the second floor.