OCDC Provides Downtown Update At Annual Meeting

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) celebrated its 12th year this week and an overview of the organization’s accomplishments in the past year were presented, along with a number of awards.

“In the past year, we have had many successes,” OCDC President Todd Ferrante said during the OCDC’s annual meeting at Shenanigan’s Wednesday night.

In August 2011, the OCDC celebrated the completion of its 100th façade project of Buckingham Hotel on Baltimore Avenue.

“Over the past year, we had 18 façade projects completed in downtown Ocean City and eight other façade projects are currently underway,” Ferrante said.

As of March 1, 2012, a total of 118 buildings have been renovated using the OCDC Façade Program. To date, the façade program has invested over $4.3 million into downtown Ocean City.

For 2012. OCDC has been awarded a total of $100,000 in grants from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to use towards the OCDC Façade Program and the new OCDC Breen Buildings Initiatives Program.

The Green Building Initiatives Program was recently created to provide financial assistance to downtown businesses, south of 17th street, to install energy efficient improvements to reduce long-term business costs. To date, OCDC has had 11 green projects completed.

The OCDC is currently managing a new parking at Philadelphia Avenue and Talbot Street. The lot has 17 public parking spaces and 16 private spaces. The long-term goal is to develop the parking lot along with neighboring parcels into a mixed-use project to help downtown create and generate property tax to assist the city, county and the State of Maryland.

For the fifth straight year, the OCDC is managing two buildings downtown that houses beach patrol employees. The OCDC has recently acquired two more properties and plans to house 26 additional city employees.

The OCDC has absorbed the Boardwalk Development Association and Ferrante was pleased to announce the association’s president, Vicki Barrett, will continue to head that committee.

Last October, OCDC held its annual golf tournament to raise funds for its downtown redevelopment program, and it was the most successful tournament yet. Last year’s tournament raised $40,000.

On May 19, according to Ferrante, the OCDC Public Art Committee will hold its second Preakness party at the Captain’s Table restaurant.

“It was very successful last year and this will be a fundraiser our OCDC Public Art Program,” Ferrante said.

From June 22-24, the OCDC will be holding the annual Plein Air event where artists will paint various scenes of Ocean City throughout the weekend. Judging will be held and OCDC will provide prize money for the three top paintings.

The most recent accomplishment that OCDC is most proud of comes from the state of Maryland.

“The Town of Ocean City and the OCDC are very proud to be designated as Maryland’s newest Main Street,” Ferrante said.

According to Ferrante, Maryland Main Street is a comprehensive program of downtown revitalization and strengthens the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets. The Ocean City Main Street district is located from the Inlet to 4th Street, including the Boardwalk.

Maryland Main Street State Coordinator Amy Seitz and Assistant State Coordinator Tim Murphy were present for the update. Seitz reviewed the 25 other cities in the Maryland Main Street Program and initiatives they have done as a tutorial in directions Ocean City can go as the newest member to the program.

“We are very excited that Ocean City has joined our Maryland Main Street family,” Seitz said. “The timing is right and you guys have a lot of opportunities … you guys are going to be knocking it out of the park in no time.”

Ferrante was also pleased to announce that downtown Ocean City was well represented at the Maryland Restaurant Association gala this year as Bill and Julianne Gibbs of the Dough Roller were awarded the Brice and Shirley Phillips Lifetime Industry Achievement Award, Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Grille was awarded Favorite Bar or Tavern, and De Lazy Lizard was awarded Maryland’s Favorite New Restaurant.

“As you can see this is just a few things that are happening downtown,” Ferrante said.

At the event Wednesday, OCDC Executive Director Glenn Irwin presented this year’s OCDC Façade Project awards to Spiro Buas for Ocean Lodge at 801 Philadelphia Avenue, Gina Tramontozzi for her single-family home at 204 5th Street, and Carlo DiFilippo, Sr. & family for the Royalton Hotel at 1101 Atlantic Avenue.

Other awards were given to OCDC’s partner, Ocean City Recreation Boosters, for enhancing Sunset Park’s music events; OCDC’s legal counsel for 12 years, Tom Coates, for his assistance towards revitalization’s efforts; OCDC’s Public Art Committee for their outstanding work in promoting numerous public art projects through the town; Marion Chambers for her service on the OCDC Board of Directors from 2006 to 2012; and Ferrante for serving as OCDC’s president for the past two years.

Four individuals were elected to return to the OCDC’s Board of Directors for a three-year term including Charlie Barrett, Igor Conev, Wayne Hartman and Chris Trimper. New this year, Bill Sieg, was elected to join the board.

This June, the Board of Directors will meet to elect a new OCDC president and executive committee.