Reef Foundation To Hold Annual Benefit May 16

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Reef Foundation next week will hold its annual fundraising dinner at Hall’s Restaurant on Wednesday.

Next Wednesday, May 16, Hall’s Restaurant will play host to the reef foundation’s annual Italian Night dinner along with auctions, raffles and other special events. Local businesses have donated prizes for the auction and a 50-50 raffle will also be held, the proceeds of which will help fund the foundation’s reef building efforts off the coast of the resort.

The Ocean City Reef Foundation was established in 1997 by parties interested in supporting artificial reef development off Ocean City Maryland. The foundation’s initial purpose was to serve as a source of non-government funding to supplement the Maryland State Reef Program so that timely responses could be made when materials of opportunity became available.

When Maryland terminated its reef program in June 1997, the town of Ocean City assumed responsibility for the permits needed for reef construction. The town assumed the responsibility under the condition that no city revenue would be spent on the program, meaning the foundation had to assume the program management and operational duties that were previously done by the state.

For the last 15 years, the foundation has been steadily expanding the artificial reef system off the coast of the resort with eight sites ranging from as close to shore as one mile to as far as 20 miles. In that span, the foundation has submerged tons of pieces of material, from old boats to retired military equipment to discarded construction material, enhancing habitat for fish and other sea creatures, which, in turn, has improved offshore fishing for recreational anglers and created new opportunities for diving enthusiasts.

Among the foundation’s larger projects was the acquisition and subsequent sinking of dozens of retired New York City subway cars in 2008. Last summer, the foundation partnered in the effort to sink the retired U.S. Navy destroyer Arthur W. Radford on a site about 25 miles northwest of Ocean City equidistant to ports in Delaware and New Jersey.

The foundation’s annual Italian Night dinner and auction will be held next Wednesday at Hall’s from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, the proceeds from which will raise funds for the foundation. For more information about the event or to donate auction items, call 410-208-0064.