OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, the City Council gave a kayak venture at the Ocean City airport another try, the annual Flag Day celebration in the resort will change dates and there are potentially more free events planned for this summer.
Council Approves Kayak Launch At Airport Again
Last June, Public Works Director Hal Adkins got unanimous concurrence from the Mayor and City Council to solicit a private operator to run a kayak eco-tourism business at the Ocean City Municipal Airport.
Unfortunately, in the time it took until the end of July for the Worcester County Zoning Appeals Board to grant its permission for the usage of the site, the plan was essentially tabled until next season, according to Adkins.
“Unfortunately, the majority of the business that Mr. Mitchell would have been anticipating getting, by the time he would have gotten up and running, the summer would have essentially been over a few weeks later so he never actually got started,” said Adkins.
At that time, Adkins had an agreement with Mitch Mitchell, proprietor of the Fenwick Island based Coastal Kayak Eco-Tours to run the daily operations and manage the canal that runs directly from the parking lot area of the airport out to the bay behind Assateague Island for the sum of $1,500 per year or 15 percent of gross income, whichever is found to be higher.
Adkins asked the Mayor and City Council for the same length of contract (one year) and the same terms of the contract in hopes that his longstanding desire to have a low-impact kayak eco-tour near the site would become a reality this year.
The council once again approved unanimously Adkins’ proposal after he assured them that their prior concerns about advertising and public relations would be handled and orchestrated by Coastal Kayak.
Ironically, this is the second time in as many months that a new kayak venture was approved for the area, as the council approved a Maryland Coastal Bays project to create a small kayak launch on the site that was formerly known as the Ocean City landfill.
“Hopefully, Mr. Mitchell will be so successful that he will want to start a similar venture near the new kayak launch near Ayres Creek,” quipped Council President Joe Mitrecic.
Adkins said that he was informed that representatives from Maryland Coastal Bays and Coastal Kayaks had been having preliminary talks concerning the forthcoming Ayres Creek launch.
Flag Day Celebration Change
The town is planning to change the annual Flag Day celebration to coincide with perhaps its most patriotic event.
Special Events Director John Sullivan told the Mayor and City Council that although the annual Flag Day celebration is held on June 14, he recommended that the town change it to June 6 this year and be included in the Ocean City Air Show.
“Last year, when the celebration fell on the same day as the Air Show it was considered to be widely successful and extremely well received by veterans and spectators,” said Sullivan. “The Air Show also happens to fall on the commemoration of D-Day so we feel that having the Flag Day celebration on June 6 would be equally well received.”
Sullivan said several local organizations such as the American Legion and the Marine Corp League have already agreed to be apart of the event, and noted that all veterans who participate in the ceremony will receive free tickets to the Air Show.
The council agreed with Sullivan, passing the proposal unanimously.
Air Show Gets New Contract, More Access
During a lengthy closed session prior to Tuesday’s City Council work session at City Hall, town officials and Ocean City Air Show promoter Brian Lilley apparently hashed out a new deal which will insure that the Air Show stays in Ocean City for at least the next three years, as well as enabling the Air Show to be allowed to serve malt beverages in designated areas and be able to sell Air Show merchandise from 12-20th streets on the Boardwalk.
Last year, the group was only allowed to sell beer and wine in designated areas and sell merchandise from 15-17th streets on the Boardwalk.
More Free Events Eyed
After receiving a ton of positive feedback and attention from the large number of free events offered during the summer months in Ocean City, the Recreation and Parks Department has apparently gone to the private sector to increase the offerings.
Recreation and Parks Department Director Tom Shuster told the Tourism Commission last week that the free movies on the beach, which are shown twice per week at varying locations, will increase to potentially four nights a week, after Jon Tremellen of the Princess Royale and Michael James of the Carousel Hotel and Family Resort have agreed to sponsor the event on the beach in front of their respective hotels once a week in July and August.
Although it’s not official, Shuster said that the Carousel has agreed to host the free movies on the beach each Wednesday night and the Princess Royale is expected to host the event each Thursday.