Fenwick Island

A Message From The Mayor

Council President Natalie Magdeburger





 “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

It’s always ourselves that we find by the sea.”

 -E.E. Cummings





Town Hall Open House for retiring Town Manager, Pat Schuchman. PAT SCHUCHMAN’S RETIREMENT: After 27 years of service equating to approximately 272 Town Council meetings since 1997, Pat Schuchman is retiring effective April 5, 2024. 

Pat has been a mainstay of the Fenwick family and in her tenure as Town Manager has overseen the day-to-day operations of the Town and Town staff, helped plan countless events such as the Fenwick Freeze, Town Bonfire and 70th Birthday Party and overseen capital projects including the sidewalks and renovations both inside and outside of Town Hall.   In addition, Pat has been instrumental in supporting the planning of the 2024 Comprehensive Plan, Monarch Butterfly Garden, dredging and resiliency. 

On April 6th, Lori Dabbondanza will take the reins as Fenwick’s new Town Manager.  Lori has been working in Town Hall since December and has learned the ropes directly from Pat.   Incoming Town Manager, Lori Dabbondanza.


Please try and stop by on Friday, April 5th and wish Pat well as she embarks on a well-earned retirement filled with stress-free days and nothing to do other than what she wants to do.   Thank you, Pat, (and her husband, Mike) for all that you have done to keep Fenwick the quiet family-friendly community that we are.   Pat–you will be missed but we congratulate you as you begin your post-retirement journey. 


TREASURER’S REPORT:  Overall cash balance decreased by approximately $120,000 during the month of February and was slightly below $5.3 million at month’s end.  This decrease was expected.  Overall revenues and expenses remain in line with the annual budget.  There were no RTT revenues for the month but year-to-date RTT revenues of $307,000 remain ahead of the annual budget of $225,000.

BUDGET AND FINANCE:  We had our first meeting on March 18 to discuss year-to-date results and overall financial position.  We also discussed the upcoming budgeting process and timetable.  Next meeting will be in mid-May to review an initial draft of the FY2025 budget.

 DREDGING COMMITTEE REPORT:  The public RFP/bid process began in early March.  We also held a mandatory pre-bid meeting to discuss the project, answer any current questions and then performed a site visit of the dewatering location.  Nine contractors were present, which was a very strong turnout and will hopefully ensure a competitive bidding process.  We are now providing additional answers to any follow-up questions.  We currently expect bids by mid-April. In addition, we have agreed on all outstanding terms with the property owner related to the land access agreement.  We are awaiting final signatures.  We do expect additional discussions once a contractor is selected and detailed design and engineering plans for the dewatering location are completed.  If all goes according to plan, dredging should begin after Labor Day. 

UPDATE ON US WIND PROJECT:  DNREC produced a report which supports the development of windfarms off the Delaware coast, finding that wind energy is consistent with Delaware’s Climate Action Plan.  DNREC’s report: Proposed-Offshore-Wind-Procurement-Strategy-20231229.pdf (delaware.gov)

BOEM continues to move forward with the permitting process.  If the permit is granted, the view from the beach at 84th Street in OC at dawn will be as set forth below (from BOEM’s site):Wind Farm OC

US Wind purchased the 142 acres around the old power plant near the Indian River inlet for $20 million dollars.

US Wind has also expressed interest in purchasing and renovating a pier in West Ocean City, Maryland.  

To see a video simulation of 84th Street as it is expected to look throughout the day, go to:  https://youtu.be/M3kwxD-IxGg

The view from the beach at Bethany Beach at 9:20 a.m. will be as below (from BOEM’s site):

Wind Farm Bethany

Fenwick has aligned with Ocean City, Maryland and is the only Delaware coastal community requesting complete and unbiased answers to three major categories of concern:

  1. What will these wind farms truly do to our marine environment? An acre of cement on the ocean floor for each platform, noise reaching decibels that adversely impact our marine life and blades rotating in migratory bird patterns needs very careful and thorough analysis from scientific groups who have not taken donations from those involved. Centers for Inland Bays, a gatekeeper in Delaware, has admittedly taken donations from the wind farm companies before deciding to return a $100,000 donation for a new building and the former director resigned to take a consultant role.  Whales, dolphins, birds, horseshoe crabs, fish are all expected to be adversely affected.  In fact, US Wind recently filed an additional request for Incidental Take Regulations of marine mammals over the course of 5 years because construction activities including pile driving and site assessments using high-resolution geophysical equipment will likely create harassment of the marine mammals in the area. 
  2. What is the true economic cost?  Will the turbines affect tourism/property values?  Some economic projections suggest a 10% loss of property values and a large loss of tourism dollars/local jobs.  In addition, many of the experts are stating that electricity generated will be much more expensive than what is being projected.  Who pays for the removal of the turbines once they become obsolete?  Who pays for damage that may occur if the turbines break apart during a storm and wash up on the beaches or kill birds or marine life that wash up on our shores?  How will these turbines affect our commercial and recreational fishing industry? 
  3. How will these wind farms impact our military coastline security?  Placing platforms owned by outside foreign entities that can be transferred to other foreign entities 20 miles off our coast, with control over our power grid and which adversely impede radar and sonar capabilities for our military and Coast Guard needs to be fully addressed to ensure our overall safety. 

While green energy needs to be part of our future; there are a lot of unanswered questions still swirling around the US Wind Project and a lot of money being offered to gatekeepers to get a greenlight for the project.  Unfortunately, money often gets in the way of the truth and, in this case, most surely would be passed onto the consumer. 

As advocates for our community, Fenwick believes our future deserves real answers to these questions before Delaware commits to forever altering the pristine nature of our ocean environment and making us the last generation to see a natural sunrise from our shores. 

If you wish further information, please attend the Environmental Committee meetings and find out ways you can get involved. 

ROUTE 54 BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT UPDATES: DelDOT announced that final plans regarding the design of the bridge will be announced during the spring. See:  https://deldot.gov/projects/index.shtml?dc=details&projectNumber=T202007303.

POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES:  Town Council approved purchasing the Lexipol Police Procedures Manual.  This is an online procedure manual utilized by many surrounding jurisdictions, which updates automatically with any new court decision and is vetted by police and legal personnel throughout the State. 

Fenwick Island Police BikesIn keeping with Chief Morrissey’s vision of community policing, Chief Morrissey was awarded a grant to begin a bike patrol next summer to supplement our highway presence.  The grant provided for the purchase of bicycles and equipment as well as overtime to run the program.  A big thank you goes to Fenwick Bike for helping secure the bikes and equipment!

In addition, Chief Morrissey has been conducting traffic studies in various locations throughout town to identify problem areas and target enforcement.  With the active support of Representative Ron Gray and Senator Hocker, Chief Morrissey was able to secure funding to purchase a speed enforcement electronic sign which has already been deployed, highlighting the speed of passing motorists and reminding them to slow down while in town and has made changes to the police schedule to ensure that we have supplemental police coverage during the most needed times.

Chief Morrissey, Mayor Magdeburger and Pedestrian Safety Chair, Ed Bishop, met with DelDOT representatives to discuss ways to better enhance the safety of our crosswalks.  

Since taking office in September, Chief Morrissey has been able to secure over $140,000 in grant and other funding to focus on helping make our roadways and town safer. 

PFC Cam Clifton Receives 2024 Valor Award and Police Officer of the YearPFC CAM CLIFTON RECEIVES 2024 VALOR AWARD AND POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR–Fenwick Island’s PFC Cam Clifton received the 2024 Freeman Officer of the Year Award as well as the overall 2024 Valor Award because of his response to the accident that occurred at Southern Exposure.  These awards are presented each year to recognize first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty.  PFC Clifton responded to a call from Southern Exposure when a vehicle crashed through the building’s exterior, traveled through the building and pinned an employee at the rear of the building.

Corporal Majewski honored for 20 years of service to FenwickCPL. MAJEWSKI HONORED FOR 20 YEARS OF SERVICE TO FENWICK–Cpl. Stephen Majewski was honored at the March Town Council meeting for his 20 years of dedicated service to the Town of Fenwick Island.  His parents, Mary and John, were in attendance.   Cpl. Majewski also was honored by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and has achieved the MADD lifetime ribbon. 

FIPD is also utilizing Facebook posts to assist with their investigations with great success.  Cpl. Majewski is responsible for the Facebook program. 

Thank you to all our officers for keeping Fenwick safe!


STREET REPAIRS–Town Council approved the re-striping of our streets.  Work will start in early May to be completed prior to Memorial Day.  

In addition, re-paving has begun on Dagsboro and Schulz Streets in keeping with our ten-year fully funded street repairs schedule.        

FLOODING/SEA LEVEL RISE—We, along with all of our coastal neighbors, had a difficult winter season with flooding throughout the bayside during storm and/or high tide events. 

The backflow valves have been placed in drainage pipes throughout Fenwick.  The purpose of the valves is to help prevent water backing up from the canals into the drainage pipes and onto the streets when the tide rises.  It basically “shuts off” the pipe from the bayside when water begins to back up into the pipe and then releases once the tide recedes.  For major flooding events (bay breaching the bulkheads), the valves are not able to help drain the water from the street until the tide recedes.  However, once the tide recedes, the valves appear to be helping drain the water from the street more quickly.  

With the valves in place, we are working on finding solutions to mitigate the flooding we are experiencing now as well as plan for the projected sea level rise we will expect to see in the future. 

First, we have inspected and cleared the drainage pipes in town and will continue to do so.  If you see a problem, let us know so we can send our crew out as blockages can occur relatively quickly. 

Last February we received the results of the commissioned Resiliency Study which delineates exactly where and estimates when we will have day to day flooding from sea level rise. 

This fall a working group of the Infrastructure Committee measured all the lots and bulkhead heights throughout town to collect data to use with the next phase of Resiliency/flooding planning which will be to seek engineered based recommendations. 

In December, the Infrastructure Committee submitted Request for Information to engineering companies to provide pricing for a detailed engineering study to help answer exactly what will need to be done to further mitigate the flooding and/or prepare for resiliency.   Will we need to begin to raise bulkheads; if so, how high and over what period of time?  Will we need to discontinue boat ramps; if so, over what period of time?  Will we need to create berms; if so, where, how high and what material?  If we create a higher uniform sea wall throughout town with bulkheads and berms, how will we disburse trapped water during storm events?  Will we need pumps; if so, where and what type?  Can we create a resiliency plan that will comply with DNREC rules and regulations given our storm water runs into the bay?   How much will the work that is necessary cost?   How should we phase the projects?   What code changes may we need to effectuate a plan that provides resiliency against the tidal surges and storm events that we are experiencing?  These are just some of the questions that we hope engineers who specialize in flood mitigation/resiliency will be able to answer for us.  

Five engineering companies submitted proposals and the Infrastructure Committee is currently reviewing the proposals.  Costs range in price from $250,000 to almost $500,000.  Yes, it is a lot of money; however, with the increasing storm events that cause widespread flooding, this is an expense that will be necessary to incur to secure real solutions.  We are not alone in this endeavor, with flooding impacting the entire eastern seaboard; however, we are moving to be first in line for the Delaware coastal communities. 

Regarding cost, through the assistance of the Planning Commission, the Infrastructure Committee worked with a grant writing group from the University of Delaware, who identified and submitted a grant request for federal funding for a portion of the project. We will hear in the fall as to whether we will be awarded the grant.  The University of Delaware grant writing team does not charge for their services and we are very thankful for the assistance that they are providing.

RESIDENTIAL CONCERNS COMMITTEE UPDATE:  The Residential Concerns Committee is discussing two initiatives: Dark Skies to mitigate light pollution and creating green infrastructure as well as re-establishing the Town’s tree canopies.  In addition, the Residential Concerns Committee would like to solicit interest from the residents concerning whether or not to pursue commemorative banners displayed during National Holidays to honor fallen heroes who served in the Armed Forces and/or First Responders.  banners on the poles outside of Town Hall.   If you would be interested in honoring a fallen hero with a commemorative banner, please contact Town Hall and let them know of your interest. An updated “Welcome Packet” for new residents is available at Town Hall or can be found on the Town’s website. 

PLANNING COMMISSION: At the December meeting, Town Council was presented with and passed the Comprehensive Plan and passed an Ordinance adopting the same at the January 2024 meeting.   The Plan has now been submitted to the State for approval. 

ASSOCIATION OF COASTAL TOWNS (“ACT”) MAYORS WENT TO DELAWARE LEGISLATURE TO OBJECT TO DNREC’S STUDY REQUESTING BEACH TOWNS TO PAY PORTION OF BEACH REPLENISHMENT:  DNREC is conducting an economic study to explore the range of economic benefits provided by beach nourishment and to develop cost-share ratios needed to maintain Delaware’s shoreline.  The coastal towns uniformly do not believe this study is necessary and that the State of Delaware should continue to fund beach nourishment without local municipality cost sharing.  Mayor Magdeburger, along with the Mayors from Lewes, Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany and South Bethany went to Dover to speak directly with the State legislature and voice our objection to such a request by DNREC.   ACT commissioned an updated economic study to present to the legislature which highlighted that that coastal economic engine adds $22.5 Billion dollars to the State’s industrial output resulting in $3.3 Billion dollars in local, State and Federal taxes.   Our message was that the coastal towns are the #1 economic driver in Delaware and the State should bear the responsibility for ensuring that we can continue to do so by paying for beach replenishment from State and federal funds without any further payment expected from the local municipalities. 

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY UPDATE:   The Town is moving forward with the median beautification project as set forth in the 2024 Comprehensive Plan and implementation will begin in April.   The medians will be re-worked to create a clean and organized approach to median plantings in order to highlight to drivers that they are leaving a 55-m.p.h. zone and entering a town with a need to decrease speeds and watch for pedestrians in crosswalks as well as bicyclists on the roadway.  In keeping with the national trend of “Complete Streets,” the planting of flowering trees and well-managed medians has the effect of providing a visual reminder to drivers to slow down and watch for others as they travel through Fenwick.  Resident, Lisa Ryan, had worked with East Coast Nursery to come up with the visual plans and work will begin in April.  If you would like to make a specific pledge to the median project, please contact Lori Dabbondanza at ldabbondanza@fenwickisalnd-de.gov to discuss how to do so.   The Town would appreciate any assistance from those who wish to be part of this project. 

BEACH COMMITTEE UPDATES: Summer is coming and so is the Town Bonfire (July 6th) and Fenwick Flicks (June 20th, July 19th and August 16th).   Please mark your calendars!

IT COMMITTEE UPDATES:    The Town’s new website is being tested and should be on-line in the coming months.   We are also working on creating a document management system which will store our records electronically and make it easier for everyone to work with the Town’s records.  More to come! 

ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE UPDATE: Chair Colleen Wilson was able to get Fenwick on the dune grass planting list with DNREC this year and had a great turnout of volunteers.   The Monarch Pollinator Garden is taking shape (please check it out at the north end of Bunting).  Also, the Environmental Committee is taking the lead on keeping up with the latest on the windfarms.   Check out the Town’s websites for the latest news.   

Earth Day is scheduled for April 20th at 9:00 a.m.  Please meet at Town Hall to collect an assignment to help clean up Fenwick.    


Please feel free to reach out to any Town Council member if you have any questions or concerns. 



Natalie Magdeburger

Mayor/President of Fenwick Island Town Council



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