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April 4, 1997     Cape Gazette
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April 4, 1997
 

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| IRi 10 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, April 4- April 10, 1997 I.R, Coast Guard Station [ptoject faces costly lead paint removal New foundation being constructed; paint removal cost .still up in the air By Rosanne Pack Perched up on blocks in the Delaware Seashore State Park, the Indian River Inlet Coast Guard Station sits waiting for the next step in the restoration project that is to return the 121-year-old build- ing to a state of structural sound- ness and tourist readiness. Now a cooperative effort of the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation and the newly founded Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation (DSPF), one of the first acts of restoration is to firmly plant the building on a new foun- dation The first step, raising the build- ing and resting it on blocks, was recently accomplished. Once it is sound on the new foundation, later this spring, the job of lead-based paint abatement will be addressed. Although some hefty numbers are being circulated regarding the cost of lead-based paint removal, chairman of the board of directors of the DSPF, Clinton Bunting said there are no estimates yet for that phase of the project. He said the total cost of the restoration is expected to be at least $1.2 million. "It takes a lot to re-do an his- toric building. The consulting part costs a little more than we expect- ed," he said. "And, we have to be very care- ful about seeking bids on the nec- essary work. For the re-founding, the bids ranged from $75,000 to II Water use Continued from page 1 idea is not to ban certain uses and throw a net of bureaucracy or reg- ulations over the bays. 'Whey are going to have to put some thought into it. They can't, just say let's ban something," Falk said. But there may be restrictions such as hours of operation or lim- iting uses in some areas. For example, there could be re- strictions in environmentally sen- sitive areas or in areas where there are attempts to re-establish beds of eelgrass in the inland bays. But the idea is not to have one or two user groups dictate how the bays should be used, he said. "We realize it is an important recreational and tourist resource... but we think it is also a national treasure [that we must protect]," he said. The idea is to pull a large group of people into the process and try to reach some consensus. It's not a new idea with such plans previ- ously being developed for areas like the Florida Keys. Falk hopes that the one com- mon interest of everybody, that of having clean inland bays, will be $175,000, with only two in the lower ballpark." Bunting said a priority for the foundation now is to keep the coast guard station project in the minds of the public. He said foundation members hope to meet with area legislators in April to discuss the possibility of taking more responsibility for the project. "We want to work with the Di- vision of Parks and Recreation to see how we can take on more," Bunting said. "We think, if it be- comes more privatied, we might be able to Save money and be more efficient. "I will say this: the Coast Guard station is not a priority of the Divi- sion of Parks and Recreation; it is not in their top 10. This means that we have to go lobby for it. That's why we want to keep re- minding the public of the potential of a tourist attraction and the im- portance of restoring a significant structure in Delaware's history." The board chair said that the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation is still young, but re- sponse to events such as the first open house and fundraiser shows that the interest and support are there for the project. He pointed out that more than 2,000 people came to the open house, and more than $7,000 was raised at this ini- tial effort. "We are still very grassroots," Bunting said, "but we got off to a pretty fast start. The foundation enough to bring people to the table and put aside their differ- ences. "You may not keep everybody happy," he said. A prepared statement on what the main element of such a plan will include says the plan is in- tended to:  "1. benefit and protect existing uses--fishing, boating, swim- ruing---of the bays. "2. provide enjoyable and safe recreational experiences for the general public. "3. provide convenient and ade- quate access to the bays for the general public. "4. protect and enhance the bay's living resources, habitat and water quality. "Overall, the plan will strive for a balance between protecting the bays' natural resources and allow- ing for public use and enjoyment for current and future genera- tions." Thus far, he has met with only small groups. But that is expected to expand with a meeting with the Depart- ment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control expected soon. Larger public meetings will fol- low although a plan is not expect- Rosanne Pack photo The Indian River Inlet Coast Guard Station stands high and dry while foundation work is being done. The cost of the entire project is now estimated at $1.2 million. has lots of support; but we need lots more support from the public as well as the state." Once the building restoration is complete, plans include a museum in the station and an accompany- ing museum store. The building was built in 1876 and is the oldest eastern shore U.S. Lifesaving Service structure still standing in its original loca- tion. It was turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard before 1920 and re- mained a working station until 1962 The station and outbuildings have also served as offices and storage space for the Department of Natural Resources and Envi- ronmental Control (DNREC). Bunting and several others formed the foundation in 1996, with the intent of joining with the state in a preservation effort for the station. He said formation of DSPF was only the first step in saving an important piece of Delaware's seashore heritage; and once completed, he feels the site also will be of economic value to the area. "Most museums don't make money; but this one will, he said. "The related store will also draw and bring in money. It's a big commitment in time and funding, but it is part of our heritage, and it will contribute to the area on many levels." The main building at the life- saving station is now raised on blocks, and should be on new pil- ings and steel girders by the mid- dle of May. Bunting said that estimates on the remaining restoration, includ- ing the lead-based paint abate- ment, will be forthcoming, and foundation members will continue to assume as much responsibility as possible in the cooperative ven- ture with the state. For information on the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation, write to DSPF, P.O. Box Z, Bethany Beach, DE 19930 or call Bunting at 537-4271. INLAND BAYS WATERSHED 7 ,The map above shows the watershed of the Inland Bays. A water use plan is currently being developed to balance competing uses and environmental safeguards for the bays. ed to be c0mplet before next ronmental impacts are minimized, biologically diverse aquatic com- year. A water-use plan will typically al- munity," according to the state- "A water use plan will outline low continued recreational uses of ment. acceptable uses of the water to en- a water body, while attempting to "There has got to be a balance," sure that user conflicts and envi- sustain and maintain a balanced Falk said.