OCEAN CITY – The poll gauging public sentiment on the Boardwalk’s future is close and now a public hearing will be held before the City Council makes the final decision.
The poll ended with the all-wooden board surface receiving 9,774 votes, 50.63 percent of the votes.
Council President Jim Hall said yesterday he is pleased with the poll results because he has always favored the all wooden board surface.
“I am not surprised,” Mayor Rick Meehan said on Thursday as well. “I think that the tradition and…what people look for when they come to Ocean City would have it leaning towards the all wooden Boardwalk surface and that is what happened.”
Option three, which is a board surface with a stamped concrete train lane to resemble wooden boards, came in second with 6,571 votes.
“I’m not surprised,” Jim Hall said. “That’s not a bad idea but I really prefer the boards.”
Meehan said he understands the concept behind the concrete train lane.
“I agree that if you’re going to do it stamped concrete would be closer to the real thing and I think the votes show that,” he said.
In third place is option two, which is a wooden board surface with a concrete train lane, with 2962 votes.
“It’s really interesting in how many people weighed in on their preference in how to re-build the Boardwalk,” Meehan said on Thursday.
The mayor also found it interesting in how far some of the votes came from and the number of votes that came from the primary locations of Ocean City’s visitors.
The top five states that voted were Maryland, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Virginia and New York. People voted from all around the world including Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and even Japan.
Option number one will replace the entire existing wooden surface with new wooden boards. The supporting structure of the Boardwalk might be built with different materials, but the Boardwalk would look essentially the same as it does now. This is the most traditional option, but also the most expensive to build and maintain.
Option number two will replace the existing Boardwalk from 4th to 27th streets with a combination of wood boards and concrete. The Boardwalk would be divided into three lanes. The inner lane where the train runs will be a plain concrete surface that would look like the tram lane that currently exists south of 4th Street. This option is the least expensive to build and maintain.
Option number three is like option number two but the inner tram lane would be a concrete that is colored and stamped to resemble wooden boards. This option is more expensive than number two but still less expensive than the all wooden option.
One of the reasons Hall said he doesn’t like the cement options is because of the transition from the cement to the wood in the center of the Boardwalk. He said that where the wood and cement would meet it could be a different height.
Hall said that the poll will have an influential factor on those council members who may have been on the “fence” of what option to choose.
“I think if you were on the fence this might sway you to go with the preference of the people,” he said.
Meehan said that the expensive option of choosing the all wooden surface is just another cost of business because that is what people want to see when they come to Ocean City.
“The poll gives a direction, it’s not binding, and the council will take all comments into consideration,” Meehan said.
The public hearing to weigh the options will be held March 7.