Offshore Wind Farm Would Fund Fenwick Island State Park Improvem - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Offshore Wind Farm Would Fund Fenwick Island State Park Improvements

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FENWICK ISLAND, Del.- Fenwick Island State Park could transform if an offshore wind project is approved off the Delmarva coastline.

According to Delaware State Parks, energy company Orsted has offered to fund $15-18 million in improvements, including a pedestrian overpass connecting the park, a new chamber of commerce and event space and a landscape-concealed parking garage that would increase parking by 30-40 percent with less of a footprint. In exchange, the offshore wind farm's interconnection facility would be built in the bay side area of the park. The wind farm's transmission line would be drilled underneath the sand and Route One so it would not be visible to those onshore.

Delaware State Parks Director Bivens says the improvements are greatly needed, with the park reaching capacity 50 times this past year--more than any other state park--and lacking program space.

"Right now we don't have an indoor space in the park for educational programs and I see that as one of the biggest winners here," he says. "In the last year when we have offered programs, we've seen over 50 people on average do an interpretive program at the park, which is our highest."

A playground, pavilions and pickleball courts are also proposed amenities. But the improvements are dependent on the wind farm getting the necessary approvals. Bivens says the project wouldn't get underway until 2021-2022, and no work would be allowed on the beach side of the park between May and September.

Bivens encourages everyone to attend Wednesday evening's public workshop on the improvements. It runs from 5-7 p.m. at Fenwick Island Town Hall. Bivens says it's key to hear from those nearby.

"We've thought long and hard and we've tried to be very considerate of our neighbors," he says. "We haven't moved any closer to them. We actually are moving the Chamber of Commerce building farther into the park. We've thought about their view sheds and noise with that so that's certainly something that's very important to us."

The project plans and opportunities to comment online can also be found at https://destateparks.com/FenwickImprovements

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