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Lewes, Delaware
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September 25, 1998     Cape Gazette
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September 25, 1998

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15- CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, September 25 - October 1, 1998 The future of Sussex road work will emphasize improvement By Jim Cresson A new six-year capital improve- ment program for state transporta- tion projects reflects highway planners' current commitment to "keeping what the state already owns in good condition" rather than building more roads, a con- cept shared by Sussex County Council and many county resi- dents. The FY 1999-04 Capital Im- provement Program (CIP) re- leased by the Delaware Depart- ment of Transportation (DelDOT) last week allots more than $1 bil- lion toward repaving work, bridge repairs and intersection improve- ments. The cost of these projects constitutes 47 percent 'of the pro- jected $2.7 billion in Transporta- tion Trust Fund revenues for the period. In contrast, road and bridge building projects are allotted just $236 million under the plan, and DelDOT officials say most of that money will go to finishing pro- jects already underway. Explaining the CIP priorities to. some 40 concerned citizens in Georgetown last week, DelDOT officials indicated that the current philosophy of infrastructure preservation and improyement would be the benchmark of the state's efforts to bring the road system into the 21st century. But once the individual projects were reviewed, many in atten- dance said they felt DelDOT could do considerably more in Sussex County than the 19 pro- jects they have chosen. Schools Continued from page 10 are very Important. Sixth-grade student Ky Hacker -agrees. He attended Milton Mid- dle School before transferring to the school of the arts. He said some areas will be more accelerat- ed than they were in his home dis- trict. "The four major subjects are emphasized, and I find them more challenging than before," he said. "For instance, we will be learning algebra by the end of this year and I really like that." But, even at the school of the arts, sometimes math is 'just that. Hacker's math homework earlier this week included graph prob- lems with no particular artistic merit. Fannin said that many students come to the school of the arts with some experience in dance or mu- sic, but even those who have not studied or performed irt the arts come from families with a strong appreciation of the arts. Of the teaching staff, he said most have a strong arts background, and many do double duty at school. Some teach an academic subject and serve as a general music or dance teacher as well. All are Delaware- certified teachers. "The parents are not all per- formers or practicing artists by any means," he said "But all do have a strong appreciation of the arts. And they understand that when appreciation of the arts is applied to our everyday life, it makes the world a better place." The principal said some fami- lies became involved in the school almost as soon as the acceptances were announced this summer. Parents and other family members came to help clean and paint the new classrooms and to build and paint furniture. Ownership, opportunity "From the beginning, we have had a lot of community interest and support. From being involved in the school from the ground up, many of our parents feel a lot of Among the approved projects for eastern Sussex County are resurfacing US 113 from the Maryland state line to George- town, to be done in three phases; improving the intersection of Route 1 and Route 16, the Broad- kill Road; installing a viaduct and raising the roadbed of a low-lying section of Route 54 from the Fenwick Ditch bridge westward; widening Route 26 in Bethany Beach from the Assawoman Canal to Route 1; raising and realigning the roadway at the intersection of Chief Road and River Road in Riverdale; building a new well along Route 1 for the City of Rehoboth Beach, to replace the well affected ownership," he said. The ownership and adventure of starting a new school is shared by students, 15arents and faculty. Hearn said she was very touched when she drove the car pool on the first day and found the princi- pal, all teachers and even the school nurse out on the sidewalk, greeting students and parents. Hacker agrees that the friendli- ness and common interests make the school of the arts a very com- fortable place to be. "It's actually even neater than i expected it to be. I was a little ner- vous at first; I knew so few peo- ple," he said. "But I really like it; because we all have the same in- terests, it's easy to get to know people." The sixth grader is experienced on stage, but he also likes to draw, paint and sculpt He was very pleased to spot new potters' wheels in one of the art rooms. Hearn's daughters have taken dance Since they were toddlers, but her son's attention will soon be on fail ball. Mariah, six, is in first grade; Michael, 9, is in fourth; and Natalie, 10, in fifth. Hearn and her husband have nothing negative to say about Cape Henlopen School District. They are both graduates of Cape High and expect that their chil- dren will graduate from there, too. They just see the school of the arts as offering a different opportuni- ty. They like teaching through the arts, small classes, students dress- ing uniformly and the "colorful, warm feel to the classrooms." Hacker said he is enjoying sam- piing the different arts disciplines" before he is asked to concentrate in one or two areas in his last two years in Selbyville. He said he still has many friend:s who remain in the Cape schools, and they are very supportive of hi,s choice to attend the school of thte arts. Fannin said the school will host open houses and activities for the public. He said they are planning "informances" that will illustrate the integration of the arts with academics and other school activi- ties. "Our goal is not to have one or two kids who excel on stage, but to have all kids participating," he said. The new schools, St. Thomas More Academy and the Southern Delaware School of the Arts, join three other schools that provide educational options for southern Delaware families. Many students in the area are al- ready enrolled in the public Sus- sex Tech High School, George- town, and private schools, The Jefferson School, Georgetown and Worcester Country School, Berlin, Md. when Route 1 was widened; repairing the bridge over Vines Creek, southeast o Dagsboro; repairing the Route 1 north- bound bridge over Cedar Creek southeast of Milford; realigning and improving the intersection of Route 1 and Route 30, south of Milford; adding two switches on the state-owned rail line east of Georgetown to provide access to a stone depot in the industial park. Numerous Long Neck residents joined Rep. Shirley M. Price, D- Ocean View, to call for major im- provements to the intersection of Route 24 and Route 23, Long Neck Road. "It is a heavily used intersection that is .inadequate for the traffic," said Price. "It's time DelDOT made that project a prior- ity." Others joined Fenwick Island resident Pat Ficken in calling for a more comprehensive repair of flood-prone Route 54 west. "There's no mention of any re- pairs to the Fenwick Ditch bridge,:' Ficken noted. "That's an issue that still needs addressing." Many others called for DelDOT to stop using tar and chip applica- tions for secondary road improve- ments, especially on roads that are frequently used. Sussex County Council sent a letter that went one step further, calling for DelDOT to resurface all secondary roads in the county. As written by County Adminis- trator Robert L. Stickels, the letter read, in part: "Instead of tar and chip every seven or eight years, repave those roads with asphalt so traffic will be inclined to use those routes instead of main corridors." The call for asphalt resurfacing became a hue and cry as bicyclists spoke of the dire need for paved shoulders and designated bike lanes on secondary roads in the county. ''Tar and chip is the bane of all cyclists," said Lewes biking en- thusiast Mike Tyler. "The state ru- ins our roads with tar and chip; I'd like to see all the roads repaved with asphalt. Many of those roads are used as shortcuts and an as- phalt surface with bike lanes and paved shoulders would make them attractive for cars as well as bikes." Tyler said he knows the voice of the cyclists in Delaware is "not loud, I admit, but it's a far more important voice than the state real- izes, yet." Tyler added that DelDot officials have told him there are no tar and chip projects north of the Chesapeak and Delaware Canal, rather they are all asphalt with paved shoulders. Seaford area resident Bill Davis, also a biking enthusiast, noted that there seems to be more asphalt road Continued on page 14