Perception Turning Positive In Ocean City

Maybe it’s just the hot and dry weather, which naturally attracts people to the beach, that’s instilling excitement and optimism in the Ocean City area, but no matter the cause this new enthusiasm for a solid summer and forecast for better times ahead is tangible.

The line between perception and reality can be difficult to see at times, but crowd comparisons confirm more people are coming to Ocean City this summer, at least on the weekends, and just about every business around these parts is reporting sales are up from recent years. At least, for now, the perception is turning and optimism abounds.

That’s why news a funding model has been approved for the new Art League of Ocean City (ALOC) building and that the Boardwalk renovation project could cost significantly less than initially estimated are particularly sweet.

These are positives for the local and visiting community, and we are relieved to see capital improvement projects back on the city’s radar.

Along with the $200,000 the ALOC is putting forward from its own private fundraising efforts, a public funding commitment, passed by a 5-2 vote by the City Council on Tuesday, for the remainder of the costs means the current ALOC building will eventually be replaced by a larger venue conducive to providing the services the former building cannot.  

There will always be those who say Ocean City has little to no culture to offer its residents and visitors, and they will probably always be on the money if we are comparing our largely rural area’s offerings to the metropolitan markets, but this is a solid step toward at least improving one aspect of the local arts and cultural scene.

While Snow Hill, Berlin and Salisbury are seeing noteworthy crowds at their monthly arts gatherings, Ocean City’s First Friday events are stale and that’s primarily a result of the antiquated facility that houses the events.

Once the new building is in place, the potential for these monthly gatherings is just the beginning. There are numerous other options available to help the ALOC accomplish its goals of serving the community and shining a light on the talent in the region.

While the ALOC building will be a targeted asset for the town, the major news regarding the lower costs associated with the Boardwalk renovation project than originally anticipated is huge news.

Saving significant chunks of money on a major capital project like the Boardwalk is terrific news for Ocean City.

Besides the ocean, beach and other natural resources, the Boardwalk is Ocean City’s most prized asset. Shoring it up for the future and improving its appearance is good business and a wise reinvestment.

Add to that some unexpected savings, thanks most likely to a lagging construction market, and that’s good news for Ocean City.

The Boardwalk reconstruction and the new ALOC building will improve offerings to the local community as well as those who own second-home properties here and those who visit us a few times a year. These will be considerable visible improvements that confirm a commitment to infrastructure reinvestment.

We are in the midst of exciting times, and the happenings at City Hall this week made the future look even brighter.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.