Some Ocean City Chamber of Commerce members recently weighed in on two of the more divisive issues in the state. Although anything but scientific, an informal survey was handed out at a recent Business After Hours, the monthly gathering of chamber members to network, eat and have some drinks. Of the 83 members in attendance, 57 returned to a survey. On the slots issue, 32 were in favor of them and 25 opposed, according to the chamber newsletter. Additionally, of those in favor, a majority backed them in the state and Cambridge, and 11 would like to see them in Ocean City. On the smoking ban issue, of the 57 ballots returned, 31 favored it and 26 were opposed.
An airline typically in the news about doing business out of the little airport in West Ocean City is now flirting with operating round-trip flights from the facility in Salisbury to Baltimore In an attempt to determine the level of interest in the flights from the Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport to BWI, airport officials are requesting local residents and businesses consider purchasing a discount ticket book, demonstrating their support. The letter reads, “Officials representing the MAA have negotiated with Cape Air an advance purchased Discount Ticket Book consisting of 10 one-way tickets, which can be used by individuals, businesses or families for unrestricted travel between Salisbury and Baltimore. In an effort to determine demand …, the [Wicomico County Airport] Commission is asking interested individuals and businesses to consider purchasing Discount Ticket Books. Each ticket is good for any flight, any day, any time but only on flights between Salisbury and Baltimore.” This in no way means Cape Air has committed to scheduling the flights. It’s merely a way of determining if there is an interest around these parts for the airline operation, which once considered running flights out of the Ocean City Municipal Airport and most recently was in talks to work with Simmons Air before that operation fizzled. In regard to paying for the discount books, no money would even exchange hands unless Cape Air inks a deal with the commission and the Maryland Aviation Association.
Earlier this month, Ocean City officials pitched a sound concept for funding a downtown parking garage to the County Commissioners. The commissioners did not comment one way or another at that meeting, preferring instead to hear all the municipality’s requests and consider them later. The town has a long-term plan in place to build a parking facility between Baltimore and Philadelphia avenues on Worcester Street. How long it will take to get this project off the ground is unknown, but Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan made it clear at a recent meeting with the commissioners the resort needs the county’s help. He reiterated that last week at a meeting of resort business people. “We can’t do it without the county’s help, but we need to move today to be ready for 2009,” the mayor said. Meehan is pitching a Tax Increment Finance plan, which would dedicate 50 percent of the increased assessments on properties south of the Route 50 bridge to a parking garage with the remaining 50 percent directed to the county and city. There’s a lot to this plan, but it certainly merits the county’s consideration at budget time
John Howard Burbage was Berlin’s mayor for 26 years. It’s reportedly the longest tenure of any mayor in Maryland. He was remembered at a service Wednesday. There will never be another John Howard Burbage, who I remember as that man always at the Style Guide in Berlin who also happened to be mayor. His claim to local fame is when he slept in the window of the Style Guide on Main Street during a dispute over his Berlin residency. He was a character and represents a dying breed of local residents. He has left a mark on this area and leaves behind many fond memories for his family and friends.