Critics Question Land Price for Proposed Lewes Park and Ride
LEWES, Del. - On most summer weekends, traffic easily builds along Coastal Highway in Lewes.
One potential solution to the congestion: a new park and ride facility. The Delaware Department of Transportation wants to construct the center at the site of the old Wright Chrysler dealership along Route 1 near Shady Road by Lewes.
The project includes space for 230 cars, 48 buses, passenger shelters, public restrooms and a maintenance facility. The goal is to get cars off the busy highway.
"I would think it would make a difference, yes," said John Burton, who has lived around the corner for about 48 years.
But Burton said he is concerned about the price DelDOT paid for the land: $6.5 million for 6.5 acres.
"I'd say it's too sweet of a deal but it's not thought out neither," Burton said.
Neighbor Ardell Lesti said she is concerned about tax dollars.
"It isn't worth the money to the taxpayers," Lesti said.
DelDOT defended the location and price of the land. The state said the parcel is near the intersection of several key highways and north of the congested beach area. DelDOT said it cannot pay less than the appraised value of $6.3 million and the price is comparable to other commercial property nearby.
Was this too sweet of a deal?
"The need for this property is clear, the location excellent and the price paid fair," said DelDOT spokesman Geoff Sundstrom in an email.
Sundstrom said prices for comparable properties ranged from $913,000 per acre to $1.3 million per acre. In the end, the Lewes deal is divided to $994,000 per acre.
"Seems a little bit overpriced where there might be a better deal," said Derek Shockro, who owns a business along Route 1 outside Rehoboth Beach. "It is a large lot. $6.5 million? Probably money better spent elsewhere."
The actual facility is expected to cost about $11.25 million with funding from state and federal dollars and grant money, Sundstrom said. Construction could start in spring of 2013 and take about a year.
A similar facility is already up and running just outside of Rehoboth Beach.
A public workshop on the matter is scheduled for Monday night from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:22 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:22:49 GMT
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