Thursday, July 3 – Public Parking Not Planned For Former Library Site

OCEAN CITY – The fate of the old library site on 14th Street was made official this week, as the City Council reviewed the past, present and future purposes for the now vacant lot.

The 14th Street building that served as a home for the library for 40-some years was demolished this spring, after the building was deemed to be unviable for any other use. A new state-of-the-art Ocean City branch of the Worcester County Library is now open on 100th Street.

It was noted at the time that the long-term goal for the site would be for a future desalinization plant, which has been identified in the Water Master Plan since the early 1990’s.

As for the interim period, the vacant lot will not be utilized for municipal parking as many had hoped, but rather for the use of the fire, water and construction divisions of the town.

Ocean City Public Works Director Hal Adkins reported this week that land was recently purchased by the Water Fund from the General Fund for a price of $350,000. The Water Fund also paid for the demolition, inclusive to the stone base.

The lot is currently graveled and posted with blue tow away signs to discourage public parking.

“The Water Fund does not have funding at this time for additional improvements such as curbing, paving, lighting, landscaping, and a Cale machine…if that was a desire. We do not have plans to stripe the gravel or to install parking bumpers,” said Adkins.

This fall, a portion of the lot will be used for backhoes and equipment associated with the funded undergrounding of utilities on 10th Street between Baltimore and Philadelphia avenues.

Similarly, a portion of the lot could be used for staging when St. Louis Ave. is improved.

In the interim, the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company will be allowed to use the lot for additional parking, but outside of that, the lot will not be open to the public for parking.

“It is not our intention, at this time, to improve that lot to turn it into public parking,” said Adkins, clearing up any misconceptions.

The council voted unanimously to approve the recommended uses of the lot.

For all the week’s news, see The Dispatch’s website tomorrow morning.