Resort to Seek Main Street Title

OCEAN CITY- Ocean City officials this week unanimously agreed to pursue a Main Street Maryland designation for the resort.

This week, Director of Planning and Community Development Jesse Houston asked for the Mayor and City Council’s endorsement to apply for Ocean City’s inclusion in the Main Street Maryland (MSM) program.

The MSM program is a downtown revitalization program run through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Community participation is collected through an application process. There are 23 community’s currently designated and there are several on the Eastern Shore, including Berlin, Salisbury, and Cambridge.

“We have talked about this for a while and thought maybe this would be a good time to try to get Ocean City included in the program,” Houston said.

Houston explained that MSM has a five point approach, which include organization of the efforts, promoting the downtown, design of the downtown district, economic restructuring, and Maryland has added a clean safe and green approach, which applies the principles of Smart Growth and sustainability for the development.

In order to be eligible for the program an applicant may be municipality or non-profit, minimum population of 1,000, committed to employ a program manager for at least four years, to organize committees, to provide a local budget for at least four years, and a defined central business district.

Houston proposed that the Main Street District be from the Inlet to 4th street and the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) be the applicant since the application has already been endorsed by OCDC Board of Directors.

“We thought it would be better for OCDC because they are already serving in this capacity unofficially,” he said. “We know this is a five point process, which OCDC does all of those things now.”

Also, the OCDC executive director will serve as the Main Street Manager so the town will not have to hire any additional personnel, and town staff will assist whenever possible. The Main Street budget will be provided by the OCDC through their operating budget, which is mostly allocated from the Mayor and City Council.

“So there is no additional funding on the part of City Council or from the town either,” Houston said.

The resolution was already prepared by City Solicitor Guy Ayres for the Mayor and City Council to endorse the MSM application. Without hesitation the council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.