ZACK HOOPES ¦ Staff Writer
Mayor Rick Meehan commends Carol Hemp by presenting her with a copy of the city’s iconic beach conservation signs, which appear at every dune crossing. Hemp has led a group of neighborhood volunteers to landscape and maintain the street end and beach access path at 133rd Street.OCEAN CITY TODAY/ZACK HOOPESThe Ocean City Council discussed the following matters at its Nov. 19, 2013 meeting
Mayor Rick Meehan issued a formal commendation from the Town of Ocean City to Carol Hemp for her many years of effort in maintaining, landscaping, and beatifying the beach entrance at 133rd Street.
Hemp has led a group of North Ocean City residents in improving the street end and dune cut that is frequently used by North Ocean City residents to go on the beach.
“It’s really an example of some of our residents going the extra mile to make the area where they go to the beach a little nicer,” Meehan said.
An Ocean City native, Hemp began work on the 133rd Street access area by herself, but was soon offered both labor and materiel assistance from neighbors.
“This is not only about my pride in Ocean City and my love of Ocean City, but also that I’ve made so many new friends,” Hemp said.
Parking dates clarified
The council approved, on first reading, an ordinance to clarify when the city’s paid parking goes into effect.
Although it will not change what the city has already planned to do, the ordinance, which was suggested by Public Works Director Hal Adkins, will resolve an apparent conflict in language between two ordinances re- garding the effective dates of the city’s Cale machines.
“So this is really housekeeping, changing language that we already enforce?” asked Councilwoman Margaret Pillas.
A 2010 city ordinance sought to eliminate the problem of weekends falling on different dates each year by defining the enforcement of paid parking as being “from the first Saturday in April or Good Friday, whichever occurs first, through the third Sunday of October.”
A 2012 ordinance, however, encourages the use of downtown in the shoulder season by creating free parking on weekdays only from April 1 to May 24, and from Sept. 4 through Oct.14.
The revised, master ordinance maintains the weekday allowances while eliminating specific dates.
Paid parking will be in effect on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only from the first Saturday in April or Good Friday until the Sunday before Memorial Day, as well as Thursdays before Springfest and the spring Cruisin’ car event.
Paid parking will be in effect seven days per week from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, with free parking Monday through Thursday coming back into effect from Labor Day through the third Sunday of October, except on Thursdays before Bike Week, Sunfest, and the fall Cruisin’.
“All this does is change date-specific times to descriptions of the days,” said City Solicitor Guy Ayres.
Komen plans strong return
Despite rain hampering last year’s highly anticipated event, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will return to the city on April 21, 2013.
“Even in really bad weather and rain, the emotion of the event and the connection of the community [was excellent],” said local event promoter Brad Hofman, who helped to coordinate the April 22 race in the resort.
According to Hofman, last year’s event raised $400,000 for breast cancer research and support.
Economic impact to Ocean City was estimated at $800,000 from the 3,500 participants of the 2012 race, and Hofman expects that, if this year’s event goes as planned, 5,000 to 6,000 will participate.
The city will also be working to develop a memorandum of understanding with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to provide for future races.
The 5k run/walk begins on the Boardwalk at Somerset Street and heads south, around the pier and inlet parking lot, then turns north up Baltimore Avenue before crossing on 12th Street, heading back down the boards to end in front of the Life Saving Museum.
Meehan pledged that the town would commit even more this coming year to promoting the spring event to its full potential.
“I think this is the year that this town really needs to be pink,” Meehan said. “We need to have everyone know what this event is, what it’s for, when it’s taking place.
Water tank unsellable
As anticipated, Public Works Director Hal Adkins informed the council that he was unable to sell the water tank on 66th Street, where the current water tower is soon to be demolished.
Adkins had posted the giant vessel on the municipal auction site Gov- Deals.com, but the auction ended last Thursday with no bidders.
Adkins sought permission from council last week to conduct another bid process, if that happened, to hire a contractor to take the tank away.
“I had a suspicion that that was going to occur,” Adkins said. “We had initially tried to see if we could sell the tank on GovDeals, because there are some tanks like this that have been sold … and they reassemble them elsewhere.”
Adkins recommended that the city accept a $41,600 contract from Iseler Demolition, a Michigan firm that specializes in water towers.
Adkins said he already had $50,000 set aside as a contingency, anticipating such a need.
Adkins said Iseler is the country’s leading water tower demolition expert, and its estimated cost includes prepping the rather tricky site, “being that it is surrounded by boats and a propane tank.”
Boat ramp work awarded
The council approved a $66,400 contract with Davis, Bowen, and Friedel for the engineering and design of the new boat ramp to be located at 64th Street.
The selection, according to City Engineer Terry McGean, was weighted with 80 percent towards the bidder’s qualifications and background, and 20 percent towards price.
According to McGean, DBF was found to have had the strongest proposal, and has completed numerous similar projects in the past.
McGean proposed the facility last year as a fix for the city’s otherwise-anemic boat launch at 94th Street, a small property in a residential area that has no room for trailer parking.
Not only would the new ramp have extensive parking, it would also be built on dredged land that could hold larger vessels.
The cost of the project was estimated at $4.15 million, although that number includes the cost of the land, which the city already acquired in 2010.
The rest of the project will be funded through a $750,000 bond sale by the city, as well as by $1 million from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which the city learned earlier this year would be given in response to a grant request that McGean had submitted to the state.