That application was submitted and advertised by DNREC as State Statute requires asking for any and all public comment. Hearing no public comment DNREC issued the permit for construction in July of 2008. The Town Council asked permission of the Town Council at the July Council meeting to move ahead with the development and the release of a bid package as soon as possible so the Council would know what the actual costs would be before approving the project and to take advantage of the possibilities of savings that might be realized as many companies were also in the process of bidding on a similar project in Rehoboth Beach slated for construction in late 2008 early 2009. In addition a survey of existing decking on the Town’s boardwalk indicated that decking board replacement was imminent and the costs for that replacement was added to the bid package, to listed as a separate expense.
At an October 2008 Town Council Meeting there was discussion regarding any widening of the Boardwalk. The Town Manager who had previously advocated for the project noted the concerns that many had over the possible widening of the boardwalk and a number of misconceptions that had developed regarding the project. He further noted the possibility of an unplanned beach replenishment project that the Town has recently been noticed of and a potential conflict with construction if both projects were done simultaneously.
At the November 2008 Town Council meeting the Town Manager advised that the bids for the widening the boardwalk had been received and were substantially under the original engineering estimates (low bid was $466,000) but recommended the Council revisit the widening during the summer of 2009 devoting a public hearing to the project and its funding and placing discussion regarding the project on at least one summer Town Council Meeting Agenda. It was noted the Town’s permit with DNREC would expire at the end of the summer but the Town would apply for an extension with no guarantees of approval.
As a side note some have suggested that the Boardwalk expansion was being offered as a salve for the loss of view from the Boardwalk because of beach replenishment, that is not the case. The expansion was suggested and brought forward by the Town Manager as a relief to congestion on the boardwalk during our busy summer season. In addition many have offered the idea of elevating any expansion in an effort to recapture a view from the boardwalk but our engineers have thoroughly examined that idea and tell us that is not practical because of handicap accessibility issues along with the fact that any elevated portion would have to between 5 and 6 feet tall to restore the view of the ocean breaking on the beachfront.