Nearly a year after it was originally planned to be completed, the wall around President Joe Biden’s North Shores home is under construction.
The Cape Gazette first reported on the wall a little more than a year ago. In September 2021, the Department of Homeland Security, with the Secret Service as the subagency, awarded a $455,000 contract to install security fencing at the president’s beach home. At the time, the contract called for the job to be completed by the end of 2021.
The end of the year came and went, but no dirt had been moved, much less a wall completed. Then in March, a public notice was issued from Sussex County saying First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was seeking variances from county code related to the maximum fence height requirements.
County code allows front-yard fences to be 3.5 feet tall; plans called for a 4-foot-tall fence. County code allows for 7-foot-tall walls on side and rear yards; plans called for 10 feet. The county’s board of adjustment approved the request in April.
Construction began about a week ago. As of Nov. 16, a masonry crew was working on the cinderblock wall going across the front of the property.
Seeing as how he already has a busy schedule over the next couple of days, it’s unclear when the president will get to inspect the wall – he’s slated to return Nov. 17 to Washington, D.C., from a weeklong trip abroad; his granddaughter is due to be married Saturday, Nov. 19, at the White House; he turns 80 Sunday, Nov. 20; he and Jill are expected to travel Monday, Nov. 21 to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, N.C. According to a Nov. 16 press advisory from the White House, the Bidens will be participating in a Friendsgiving dinner with service members and military families.
The cost of the new security measures has increased since the contract was awarded over a year ago. According to the website USAspending.gov, an online database of federal government spending, roughly $502,000 is now budgeted to complete the project. The current end date for the contract is Sept. 30, 2023.