Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – In the brief this week, the quest for a new convention center manager is starting to reach the final stages, a councilman cracked a smile thanks to a top-catch and the Inlet parking lot will get some experimental signage starting this weekend.

72 Applicants Vying For Building Director

City Manager Dennis Dare told the City Council this week that he, acting Convention Center Director Wayne Pryor and Human Resources Director Roger Weiseman will be weeding through the 72 applications for Mike Noah’s old job. 

Since then, town officials and those in the business community have been quietly murmuring their own thoughts and opinions about what type of candidate should fill the position and some have even been vocal about wanting a hand in the decision making process.

Dare, however, has held firm on his stance that the newly defined position, which will pertain primarily to running the building as opposed to being the Director of Tourism, which Deb Travers has been named, means there is little need for the inclusion of those at the commission level or the business community.

“When we were looking at a combined job as it’s been in the past, we might have brought it to the tourism commission, but the position is now just going to be the building manager,” Dare told Councilwoman Margaret Pillas on Tuesday at City Hall.

Town code says that the decision is on the shoulders of the city manager and the final concurrence of the Mayor and City Council.

With that said, once Dare, Pryor and Weseman come to a decision, they will recommend a candidate to the Mayor and City Council, but no official word has been released to when that recommendation may come.

Councilman Aboard A

White Marlin Open Winner

Councilman Joe Hall finally cracked a smile on Tuesday at City Hall, and he may have a dolphin fish to thank for that.

Hall has been under fire from many people in the town after voting against the town’s emergency salvia ban and being on the wrong end of a number of decisions in the past several months as far as the majority vote goes, and his tendency to stoically shoe-gaze while on the council stand has been apparent in recent weeks.

Yet, Hall was all smiles at this week’s work session and even waxed poetic about being a part of the team that took home the first place dolphin at last week’s White Marlin Open.

While aboard the “Crush Em”, Hall watched as angler Ron Bennett, Sr, of Elkton, caught the 37.5-pound fish that won the crew a little more than $16,000, according to whitemarlinopen.com. Hall said the winnings covered the crew’s expenses and bought a “few dinners for everyone.”

Hall, who says that saltwater fishing is his main passion, said that he’s been on a boat in the tournament for the last 12 years.

“I was rewarded with a chance to fish that helped melt some of the built up stress that has come from dealing with a very stressful and exhausting year,” said Hall. “A day of fishing can recharge the batteries.”

Hall praised the tournament this year after boasting about his team’s catch saying that it was one of the most exciting tournaments he’s seen in a number of years.

New Signage To Guide

Boardwalk-Bound Folks

There is a definite difference between a full parking lot and a closed parking lot, but in regards to the Inlet parking lot in Ocean City, which teeters between full and almost full every weekend, the police commission realized that there is no easy answer to fix the resulting headaches for the motorists and the businesses.

In efforts to help guide motorists to an open parking space while still appeasing the local merchants who want the inlet parking lot “open” at all times, the police commission decided on Wednesday to add two portable Variable Messaging Signs (VMS) telling motorists that the Inlet lot is “full” rather than “closed” as early as this weekend.

“Unless you physically roll down your window and beg the officer that is down there when they have the lot closed off on the weekends, you can’t get to some of the businesses like Harrison’s Harbor Watch,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “On weekends, it’s been full by 8:20 a.m.”

The recommendation from some in the business community including Buddy Jenkins, owner of Jolly Roger Amusements and current Wicomico Street pier franchise owner, was to install signage that said the lot was full, but available for drop-off or pick-up, according to Councilman Doug Cymek.

“There is no perfect answer here, and the best we can do is try to figure out what the best way to mitigate the problem,” said Mayor Rick Meehan.

With only a few weeks left in the busy part of the season, it appears that the town will experiment with the existing VMS signage while trying to come up with a more long-term solution for the weekend backups for the inlet parking lot area, both for the motorists wanting to get to the beach, and for the merchants who are vying for customers.