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February 24, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 24, 2006

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18 - CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, Feb. 24 - Monday, :Feb. 27, 2006 Lewes' Second Street project rolling along Merchant's doors open to their customers By Henry J. Evans Jr. Cape Gazette staff As heavy equipment scoops out huge slices of Second Street in Lewes, merchant Kelley Layton isn't the least bit ruffled by work going on just outside her shop's front door. "I think these guys are doing a great job. When I came in this morning and saw what I was see- ing instead of dread it was like, OK, we're one step closer to get- ting this behind us and moving on," said Layton, co-owner of Habersham Peddler Interiors. The city's Second Street revi- talization project is running on schedule for completion in May, say engineers. As contractors make use of mostly favorable February weath- er and merchants like Layton make the best of having a con- struction site only a few feet from the sales counter. "These guys are doing a great job of opening the street up at nighttime and creating as little mess as possible," Layton said. Layton said she's one of those who thinks advertising about con- struction scares people away. "People who were here for Christmas knew this was coming Jim Collins is a clerk and Carol Garner is the manager at R & L Liquors on Second Street in Lewes. Garner said the revitalization project has had little effect on sales. and said, 'let's stay away from Lewes,'" she said. Resident Project Representative Helen Perez of George Miles & Buhr engineering, said utility work is nearing completion as conduits and bases for streetlights are installed. Perez said Second Street has been graded from Market Street to Shipcarpenter Square in prepara- tion for the 10-inch layer of grav- el and three inches of hot mix that will form the street's new surface. She said curbing is being installed on one side of the street from Shipcarpenter Square to R&L Liquors. "On the other side of the street they've got quite a bit of the resi- Kelley Layton, co-owner of Habersham Peddler Interiors on Second Street in Lewes, says store sales have suffered in February, but rebuilding the street is a worthwhile project with expected inconveniences. dential curbing in and they're now working on Mulberry Street," Perez said. Carol Garner, R & L Liquors manager, said the project has not significantly affected business. "For January our business was ahead of last );ear. We're accessi- ble through the back way and that's something that's been good for us," Garner said. Garner said she's remaining upbeat about the project because turning negative isn't helpful. "We needed to have it done. I think it's going to look wonderful and I think we're going to do more business downtown when it's done," Garner said. She said some Second Street Shop owners have chosen not to open through the week. "I think that's a mistake. I'm on the sales and promotion commit- tee for the revitalization and we're doing a lot to bring business downtown," she said. Layton said although her shop's sales are down by about 15 per- cent compared to this time last year, she's can't blame it all on construction. "This is a slower time of year. The weekends have been active and we've had a couple of good weekends that help make up for how slow it's been during the week," Layton said. Up the street at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Henry J. Evans Jr. photos Construction on Lewes' Second Street revitalization prej- eet is more than 40 percent complete. Contractors have started installing curbing in sections of the project and the installation of concrete pavers in the residential area could begin next week. manager Maureen Redwine is busy wrapping dark-chocolate hearts. "Everybody loves chocolate. We haven't been hurting for busi- ness at all," said Redwine. She said the store's mail order and special order business isn't affected by construction and foot traffic through the door has been good. "When it snows and is muddy Maureen Redwine, manag- er of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory on Second Street in Lewes, said chocolate lovers haven't had a problem finding their way into the store despite major construction. people complain a little bit but they're still here," Redwine says. She said this year's sales are on target. "Weather can be more of a hin- drance than construction," Redwine said. Weather and the progress of construction will be factors that could make the Lewes and Delaware 375th Anniversary cele- bration in April a bit muddy. Perez said installation of con- crete pavers that will make up the street's sidewalks should begin next week in the residential sec- tion. But before removal of a brick sidewalk and paver installa- tion makes its way to Saint Peter's Episcopal Church, engineers must design and have installed a system to stabilize the church's 229-year- old wall fronting Second Street. The church is scheduled to be the place where Dutch and Delaware dignitaries will gather for the first meeting of the General Assembly to take place in the city since 1781. "If you wear appropriate shoes it should be fine. I would recom- mend something other than pumps,,, Perez said. Lewes' historic panel approves Shipcarpenter fence request Neighbor says she doesn't like what will be built By Henry J. Evans Jr. Cape Gazette staff A fence doesn't always make happy neighbors, the Lewes Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) learned after approving a request for placement of a white-stained cedar fence around a Shipcarpenter Square home. The HPC on Tuesday, Feb. 21, unani- mously approved a request by John and Sally Freeman for the installation of a fence at the Freemans' 13 Shipcarpenter Square home. John Freeman and Christopher Valenti of JB Landscaping told the commission the fence is in keeping with the Victorian-era home it would surround. "The fence has been very carefully designed to fit the character of the home," Valenti said. Freeman's home is unique in a communi- ty full of unique homes. Many are, in part, constructed from historic structures. The Freeman home was formerly the Mispillion Lighthouse, built in 1873. It once sat at the confluence of the Mispillion River and Cedar Creek near Milford before the Freemans moved it to Shipcarpenter Square. Last year the Freemans topped the struc- ture with a reproduction of the lighthouse's lantern. The original had been lost to time and damage. In front of the home, the Freemans' pick- et fence will be 34-inches high and will include a gate. The fence will be 6 feet in height where it abuts the fence of neighbor Martha D'Erasmo. "I'm distressed that the fence will rise above ours. It will be overwhelming," D'Erasmo told the commission. She said the height of the Freemans' lighthouse home with the addition of the fence, makes the property an imposing presence in the neighborhood. The Freemans' fence will be about a foot taller than D'Erasmo's. The difference in height won't be visible from the Freeman side of the fence, but D'Erasmo would see the height difference. Freeman said of the purpose of the fence where it abuts neighboring property is to block the view. "There's a reason it's called a privacy fence," he told the commission. Freeman,a real estate developer, is chair- foot fence. Neighbors also objected to Freeman's plan to have the cedar fence painted with a whitewash finish. "Paint has been here since the beginning of time. It is part of the historic character of buildings that they be painted," he told the commission. HPC Vice Chairman Jim Richmann, who chaired the meeting, said the fence would change the character of the streetseape. Richmann asked commission members whether the fence paint issue was important one. Commissioners concluded paint and colors choices were not within their purview. Freeman said the fence would be manu- factured in Maine and painted at the facto- man of the Shipcarpenter Square communi- ry. "We feel it's most unfortunate. They (the ty's architectural review committee. He Freemans) had no communication with said the panel approved the 6-foot fence neighbors," D'Erasmo said after the deci- after rejecting his initial request for an 8- sion allowing the fence.