OCEAN CITY – With the approval of the plans for a downtown recreation park and the expansion of the Ocean Bowl Skate Park by the Mayor and Council Tuesday, residents and visitors alike will soon be seeing improvements and enhancements to the bayside area between 3rd and 4th streets.
Tom Shuster, director of Recreation and Parks, came before the Mayor and Council on Tuesday, along with John Slater of Slater Associates, to present the master plan for the Downtown Recreation Complex (DRC) and for the expansion of the Ocean Bowl Skate Park.
Shuster explained that in the fiscal year 2007 budget funds were allocated for the design work for the DRC and for the skate park expansion. Wally Hollyday Designs of California was hired for the design work of the skate park, and Slater Associates created the rest of the master plan for the remaining park area. Both designs were completed this spring and were presented to the Recreation and Parks Commission on May 1 as the “Bayside Park Master Plan”.
On Tuesday morning, the Bayside Park Master Plan was presented once again to the Recreation and Parks Commission for review and later in the day also to the Mayor and Council for approval.
“It’s a great park with wonderful opportunities for Ocean City,” Slater began as he presented the master plan.
The goals of the plan include expanding the present skate park; merging the essentially separate east and west parks into one; maintaining parking; and slowing traffic along St. Louis Ave. between 3rd and 4th streets.
St. Louis Ave. is currently about 48 feet wide between the east and west sections of the park. It maintains two traffic lanes, two bicycle lanes, parallel parking and 25-feet of sidewalk. The plan calls for the road to be narrowed to 30 feet, eliminating parking and providing for a shorter walk across the road from one area of the park to the other. It will also provide for a calming of the traffic in that area.
Slater also presented aesthetic aspects of the park that will be added. The osprey nest sculpture will be moved to the bayside and is to provide shade in the shape of an osprey. Wooden rail fences will be added around the park to provide safety as well as provide and aesthetic appeal to the park.
“We wanted to pick up on the flavor of the entrance to the Boardwalk,” Slater said, explaining that the architecture of the sign at the Boardwalk entrance will be reflected in the park. He also added that designers aimed to pick up on the neighboring architecture to help soften the view of the skate park along St. Louis Ave.
To read the full story and learn further details of the project, see the updated version of The Dispatch’s website tomorrow morning at www.mdcoastdispatch.com.