Wednesday, November 7 – Downtown Street To See Changes In 2008

OCEAN CITY – The retail carts and several special events will not be returning to Somerset Street for the 2008 season.

At a regular session of the Mayor and City Council Monday night, Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) President Greg Shockley and Executive Director Glenn Irwin presented the OCDC’s recommendation on the retail carts that caused contention on the street this past summer.

“The OCDC believes the retail cart program has merit, but since it generated concerns from the existing businesses during the 2007 summer it should not be continued.  The OCDC believes the tenant mix of the existing businesses along Somerset Plaza is not conducive to the retail cart program at this time,” wrote Shockley in a letter to the Mayor and Council.

The retail carts left several business owners along Somerset Street disgruntled this past summer, particularly Al Wendling of Pop’s Joke Shop. Wendling came before the Mayor and Council as well as the OCDC several times throughout the summer to plead his case that the carts along Somerset Street were hurting, not helping, the businesses along the street. The City Council voted to table the issue until the end of the season and to allow the OCDC to review the program at that time

Shockley explained to the Mayor and Council on Monday night that the OCDC reviewed the retail cart situation as well as the live entertainment at its Annual Board Retreat three weeks ago. After lengthy discussion and review, OCDC officials agreed to discontinue the cart program and a majority of the live entertainment that has been a staple of Somerset Plaza for the past two years.

“We believe the current business mix is not right to take full advantage of this attractive and important pedestrian link.  Until such time, the OCDC will take a limited role on the Plaza and redirect our energies to other redevelopment projects,” Shockley said.

To read the entire story, as well as dozens of others, see The Dispatch on Friday.