Destination Station seeks private grantsPlanners say drawings needed to finalize building costs
Rehoboth Beach — Hopes for Destination Station Center are resting on private foundation grants that give the center’s organizers funding to obtain architectural renderings of the planned building.
Carol Everhart, president and CEO of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, which has spearheaded the project, said she will be interviewing for grants that will be key to whether the project proceeds. She said Destination Station Center Inc., the organization set up to run the project, cannot finalize building costs without renderings.
Organizers hoped to break ground this fall, but Everhart said that's not going to happen this year. She said the project is behind schedule but still has two years left on a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Department of Transportation.
State transportation officials and the center’s board agreed to a memorandum of understanding in 2010 that would allow the center to be built at the Park & Ride facility off Route 1 as part of $1 million in upgrades to the Park & Ride. No state or federal money is to be used by the center, which is being financed through private fundraising.
DelDOT added sidewalks and improved the Park & Ride in 2011. The memorandum of understanding requires Destination Station Center to provide semiannual progress reports to DelDOT, which DelDOT spokesman Sandy Roumillat said they are still doing.
DelDOT will study how the center will affect traffic in the area once there is a specific proposal for what Destination Station will actually be, Roumillat said.
Everhart said the private fundraising effort has been successful so far but has taken longer than expected. She said uncertainty in the investment world and competition for grants has made it harder to raise funding for the renderings.
So far, center officials have raised $500,000 that was spent on feasibility studies, legal fees and putting together the business plan for the project.
"It took a considerable amount of money to make that happen," Everhart said.
The preliminary estimated cost for the building, she said, is $15 million to $20 million depending on the design. In addition to serving as a transportation hub, Destination Station has been proposed as a science and technology center that would attract visitors and serve as an educational tool for school students. Everhart said the center would be ever-changing and highly interactive.
Everhart said she hopes funds will be available for architectural renderings by the end of the year.
"We hope to make it happen," Everhart said. "We know the area will benefit from it."