OCEAN CITY — Congressman Frank Kratovil said that if Ocean
City were to ever go under, so would Maryland.
Senator Barbara Mikulski joined Kratovil on the Boardwalk
in Ocean City on Monday morning to announce that they had fought to secure
roughly $4 million in federal funds for the beach replenishment project, which
had come back into the limelight after a November storm destroyed almost half
of the dune system (roughly $10 million in damage) in Ocean City.
Although the dunes were drastically depleted, both
Mikulski and Kratovil said the fact that no properties were damaged by the
three-day storm shows that the beach replenishment project not only works, but
also proves its worth for the future.
“After Hurricane Gloria in 1987, I saw the damage, and I
saw firsthand the water coming onto Coastal Highway and pounding these
pilings,” said Mikulski. “I was just so worried that we were going to have to
watch $1 billion in properties washing away too and I knew we had to do
Mikulski was part of a group that fought for the beach
replenishment project, which to date has cost taxpayers more than $100 million,
but has also prevented an estimated $250 million in property damage.
Kratovil, who had come to Ocean City in November just
after the Friday the 13th storm to survey the damages, said that
getting any federal money in these economic times is never a sure thing, even
for a proven project like beach replenishment.
“Getting money for anything right now is difficult, but
the good and bad news is that when you have an incident like the storm and you
have substantial damage like we did here, it puts it to the top of the list so
from that standpoint it was a bit easier,” said Kratovil. “When you see the
massive damages that other places have had to go through after storms of this
size, you see just how important the funding is for a project like beach
replenishment. From a Maryland standpoint, I think it would be very tough to
make the argument that a project like this is not worthwhile, even in these
hard economic times.”
City Engineer Terry McGean said that the project will not
only be repairing all the damage from the November storm, but it will also
address the planned replenishment that has been ongoing every four years since
the projects inception.
“We know now that the federal money is set in place and we
can move forward and that’s what we’ve been waiting to hear,” McGean said.