When it was first reported 382 condominium units were planned for the redevelopment of the Ocean Plaza Mall site last year, the reaction in the community was something along the lines of this: it’s not going to happen. Sources have indicated those responsible for providing financing for the project agree because we understand the project is undergoing a major redesign. Although details are not available because we understand the project is still a work in progress, we hear the residential component of the plan will be scaled back tremendously after financing was difficult to secure for the community as designed. The plan on the table for the dilapidated mall site calls for 11, five-story condominium buildings along with revamped Superfresh and Roses stores and other commercial uses. We understand the plan still involves reconstructed Superfresh and Roses stores on site but could include even more commercial businesses than originally suggested. The project is reportedly leaning toward going more commercial than residential in light of current conditions in the marketplace.
Congratulations are in order for some local establishments. The Restaurant Association of Maryland has announced the nominees for its annual foodservice industry awards. The top honor goes to West Ocean City’s Marlin Moon Grille, which has been nominated for Favorite Restaurant Award. The ballot says, “For a special occasion or a quick weekday meal, what is your favorite Maryland restaurant?” It’s joined by a number of other well-known state restaurants including Ruth’s Chris. In the Favorite Bar/Tavern category, Seacrets and the Greene Turtle are in the running. In the Wine and Beverage Program of the Year category, Liquid Assets Wine & Martini Bar is among the six nominees. It’s a cliché, but to be nominated is quite an honor. An awards gala is planned for next month. No matter how they fare, all of these places should be proud.
The O’Malley administration has made it clear no significant changes will be happening anytime soon with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Check that, it was more of a confirmation than an announcement, since a task force met for months last year and adjourned without any solid recommendations. Nonetheless, one Eastern Shore legislator has pitched an idea, albeit an unrealistic one. Delegate Michael D. Smigiel wants to study the feasibility of a monorail track crossing the Chesapeake Bay on a new span and potentially extending to Salisbury, Ocean City and even Washington D.C. Realizing his pitch may be a bit unrealistic, Smiegel reportedly told a House committee, “Currently, if we do nothing, we’re looking at 12-hour backups [in the future].”
The proverbial poison pen was sharpened and ready to go prior to this week’s Ocean City Council meeting. The issue was the seawall and whether the town should change the color of it from a banal gray to “Ocean City Blue”. After hearing about the $6,000 the city would have to fork over to change the sea wall color, the council thought better of it and approved the standard gray for the 8,135-foot long barrier. This situation reminded us years ago of a letter to the editor submitted by a Baltimore art teacher, who thought the town should allow Maryland artists to paint murals on the sea wall. The idea was it would feature landmarks from around the state. It’s not a bad concept for another area of town, but it seems silly to make any dramatic changes to the sea wall, which exists solely to protect property from storm surge. The attractions are the beach, the ocean and the Boardwalk. Let’s keep it simple – those are the main reasons people come here. There’s no reason to mess with that formula.
It was interesting to see what some 200 people thought of the earlier Daylight Savings Time this year. In a poll on mdcoastdispatch.com, 48 percent believe it was a great concept; 23 percent said it was unnecessary; 19 percent say it makes no difference; and 11 percent think it will save energy.