Smyrna Town Council was presented the results of the August Route 13 Design Week at Monday night's council meeting. The draft plan was initially presented in an open house Aug. 24 at Belmont Hall.
The Route 13 Design Week was done in Smyrna in conjunction with the State Office of Planning, DelDOT, and the Dover/Kent County MPO and is considered a pilot study on how to better integrate Route 13 with the towns the road passes through.
The result of the week-long workshops is an integrated approach for Route 13 in Smyrna from the northern Route 1 interchange to the southern interchange.
Betsy Mastaglio of McCormick Taylor, a land use and urban design group, presented the results.
The approach suggests mixed usage of retail spaces and open space, and retail and residential spaces. There could be better walkability with buildings right on the highway.
Councilman Bob Johnson compared the suggestions to the look of Chesapeake City in Maryland and that the changes would encourage drivers to slow down and take a look at Smyrna.
Mastalgio said the changes, which would be done over a period of time, would "let people know there's a place to visit here, to spend money here, to invest in."
While the results of the charette have been presented, the groups involved still need to formalize the suggestions in an official document. From there the document will be reviewed by Smyrna committees and eventually voted on by council.
Once the document is approved, it will be a tool for Smyrna to use to guide the development and upgrades by current and local businesses and developers to incorporate the plans in the document with their business plans. The plan will also need to be approved by other agencies such as the MPO.
Police station update
Council unanimously approved for Town Manager Dave Hugg to negotiate a contract with i3a consulting engineers to provide consulting construction management services for the town.
Councilwoman Valerie White was not at the meeting to vote on the motion.
The motion was made by Councilman Jeff Flairty in response to the previous council meeting where council approved the feasibility study for the police station expansion, with the stipulation the town put out RFQ's in hopes of receiving proposals for a cheaper expansion.
If council eventually approves the contract, i3a will work with the town specifically on the police station project. Flairty recommended i3a as firm president Ed Ide has done an "excellent job of representing the town in providing us with honest, unbiased information." Ide was a part of the team, along with Fearn Clendaniel Architects, to put the feasibility study together.
"It's pretty clear to everybody, it [the expansion] is going to get done. How it's going to get done we're not sure. But let's be frank, we're not experts at this," Flairty said. "We need to have professional assistance moving forward in this process of hiring and managing the architectural firm."
Hugg said it would be beneficial for the town to have a construction manager right now to help with the various documents such as the RFQ's the town is currently working to put out.
There were some questions by Stombaugh and Councilwoman Regina Brown as there was a similar motion made at the previous meeting but it included the hiring of architectural firm Fearn Clendaniel along with i3a as the project's design team. The previous motion was taken off the table since council voted to put out an RFQ for possible alternatives to the project, which could ultimately result in a different architectural firm hired.
When asked about the cost, Hugg said there is a cost as this is a piece of the next phase of the project, which is the design phase. Hugg said it's unknown because there hasn't been a contract negotiated. However, Flairty said the cost of a construction manager for the project was included in the soft costs of the feasibility study.
Following council's approval to hire i3a, Stombaugh asked if this meant council had just committed to the police station project. Flairty said no because Ide's contract will have to come before council for approval.
"We're taking the next step," Flairty said.
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