A Week in Business

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New OCHMRA Officers,
Board Members Installed

OCEAN CITY – Paul Hartgen, CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, installed last month the 2009-2010 Officers and Board of Directors of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) at Castaway’s.

Approximately 150 members gathered for this annual ceremony. John Lewis of Talbot Inn/MR Ducks was installed as the new president; Malcolm Van Kirk of the Sea Bay Hotel/Best Western OC Suites Hotel was installed as 1st vice president; and Mary Eastman of the Cayman Suites was installed as the 2nd vice president. Shawn Harman of Fishtales/Bahia Marina, remained secretary-treasurer.

The three-year Board of Directors installed included Mark Elman of the Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel and Resort, Travis Wright of The Shark on the Harbor Restaurant and Lisa Lynch of the Commander Hotel. Two-year Directors include Chris Wall of the Harborside Bar and Grill, Dave Robinson of the Boardwalk Hotel Group and Doug Buxbaum of Buxy’s Salty Dog.

Outgoing President Jon Tremellen was presented with a plaque in appreciation of all his hard work and dedication as OCHMRA president. The new board will have their first meeting on May 14.

The evening’s festivities also featured Mayor Rick Meehan recognizing and presenting keys to the city to the Ocean City recipients of the Restaurant Association of Maryland State of the Industry Awards. They included Greene Turtle for the Cornerstorne Award; Best Bar & Tavern Fager’s Island and Hall of Honor inductee John Fager; Favorite Restaurant Marlin Moon Grille; Best Wine & Beverage Program Liquid Assets; Restaurateur of the Year Leighton Moore of Seacrets; Allied Member of the Year Fred Lankford of Sysco Eastern Md.

Holiday Inn Changes Announced

OCEAN CITY – The new Holiday Inn sign introduced in 2007 is making its way around the world. And this week, the Holiday Inn Oceanfront, located on 67th Street and owned by the Harrison Group, announces this green beacon of hospitality will light the way for visitors to Ocean City.

The new sign is the seal of approval that this hotel exemplifies the standards of the $1 billion Holiday Inn brand relaunch program established to create a more contemporary brand image, increase quality and drive consistency. The Holiday Inn Oceanfront is the first in Ocean City and among the first hotels in the world to receive the sign.

“We have set an aggressive pace to relaunch our global estate of nearly 3,200 hotels, in excess of 419,000 guest rooms and 12,000 signs by the end of 2010,” said John Merkin, senior vice president, Brand Management, Holiday Inn Brands, the Americas. “And with the addition of the Holiday Inn Oceanfront we are off and running on our journey to make every Holiday Inn hotel as great as our best one.”

Along with the signage change, elements of the Holiday Inn brand relaunch include refreshed guest rooms, new visual methods to welcome visitors and a new service promise.

“We look forward to offering our guests an enhanced stay experience with a new look and exceptional levels of customer service,” said Jason Gulshen, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Oceanfront. “And we are especially pleased to be among the first wave of properties to showcase these new Holiday Inn brand family hallmarks.”

The 216-room hotel is within walking distance to many Ocean City attractions, and offers such business conveniences as six meeting rooms, a business center and free high-speed Internet in all rooms. Other amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, two hot tubs, fitness room, tanning bed, game room, award-winning Reflections Restaurant and the Sterling Grille and Bar.  

Cake Company To Open

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Original Smith Island Cake Company, a gourmet dessert and coffee café’, is planning to open May 4.

Located in the Ocean City Factory Outlets, the Original Smith Island Cake Company café will offer slices of cake, whole cakes and gourmet boutique cupcakes. Specializing in the multi-layer Smith Island Cake, this dessert was designated as Maryland’s official state dessert in October 2008. All gourmet desserts are made from scratch daily.

The café will also specialize in fair trade coffee, offering a variety of coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, iced coffee drinks and fruit smoothies. Birthday and special occasion Smith Island cakes are also available.

The café will be open all day, offering morning hours for breakfast and late evening hours for specialty after dinner coffees and desserts. Wi-Fi access is also available. Additionally, it will offer free delivery in the Ocean City area.

Stream Project Sees Benefits

MILLVILLE, Del. – Before there was a Millville, an Ocean View, a Sussex County, and even before there was a Delaware, a small stream meandered through what is now the area between Route 26 and the Assawoman Bay.

Beaver Dam Creek drained much of the area that is now planned as “Millville by the Sea,” a master planned community in the town of Millville. Over the years, farmers and state agencies straightened and deepened the little stream until it became a deep ditch. With its nearly vertical sides and overgrown banks, Beaver Dam Tax Ditch carried rainwater, sediment and agricultural runoff from the farmer’s fields and deposited it into the Little Assawoman Bay. The nutrients from the runoff added stress on the bay and increased the frequency of algae near the point of discharge.

Currently, a new plan is in the works for the areas drained by the Beaver Dam stream. Millville by the Sea is a 3,000-home community on over 700 acres along Route 17. Its main environmental feature will be a trail and stream system that follows the Beaver Dam stream for over two miles. While many would consider a development to be a bigger negative impact than farm fields, the science of storm water management helps to reduce the impacts by limiting runoff, channeling it into infiltration ponds, and eliminating the excess sediment that would otherwise have choked the stream with mud and debris. The nutrient loads are greatly reduced, and the water that enters the bay is significantly cleaner.

As part of its’ development plan, Millville by the Sea has begun a stream restoration plan that will eventually affect much of the two miles of Beaver Dam stream along and within its buffers. The first 1,000 feet of this restoration project has been completed on a ditch near the Beaver Dam stream. This demonstration project was a group effort that included input from the Department of Natural Resources, the Beaver Dam Tax Ditch Authority, JCM Environmental, and the developers of Millville by the Sea. In this area, a 10’ wide ditch was widened to 100’, with designed flood plain, pools, a meandering watercourse, and areas that will be shaded by native plants and trees. According to officials, the work was completed last fall, and in only a few short months, there are already signs that fauna have returned to the area with birds, fish, and amphibians reclaiming that stretch of stream bed.

OCDC Façade Funds Available

OCEAN CITY – Recently the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) has been awarded new façade funds from the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) for exterior improvements and is accepting applications from downtown property owners.

These grant funds are targeted for buildings within the designated community legacy area that are south of 15th Street between the Boardwalk (Boardwalk fronts are excluded) and the bay as well as properties along the west side of Philadelphia Avenue and both sides of St. Louis Avenue south of 17th Street. Commercial and residential buildings are eligible, as well as buildings with a mix of uses (such as first floor retail and upper floor residential), seasonal employee housing, and single family houses are eligible.

The program can provide a grant up to one third of the costs of exterior renovation. The maximum grant amount available to an applicant is $5,000. Such improvements may include new exterior siding, painting, windows, doors, signage, and other exterior improvements. Lighting, fencing, and landscaping are also eligible. Roofing improvements are not eligible.

To date 62 downtown buildings have been renovated under this OCDC façade program and10 building renovations are underway.

For more information, call the OCDC office at 410-289-7739.

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