OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) celebrated its 14th Annual Meeting this month when many of the organization’s efforts over the past year were highlighted and several awards were presented.
“As we look over the past year of downtown revitalization efforts, we have had many successes,” OCDC President Bob Givarz said.
In the past year, there were 17 façade projects completed in downtown Ocean City with nine other façade projects underway. Approximately 150 façade projects have been completed and to date $5 million of private investment has been made.
The OCDC kicked off its new Green Building Initiatives Program three years ago, providing incentives for business and property owners to make their buildings more energy efficient, such as installing Energy Star rated windows and doors. To date, 37 projects have been completed and over $500,000 of private funds have been expended on these energy saving improvements.
Last year the OCDC started its Business Assistance Program, and three downtown projects have taken advantage of the new program for fixed interior improvements. Funding is still available for new businesses and businesses wishing to expand in the downtown area.
In the past month, OCDC was notified of three Community Legacy grant awards from the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development. The $175,000 awarded to three projects will be used to fund the continuation of the OCDC Façade Program, the OCDC Business Assistance Program, and to pay for decorative street lights for the St. Louis Phase II project between 4th and 10th streets.
The OCDC applied for and received a $90,000 state grant from the new Smart Growth Investment Fund to pay for the demolition costs and predevelopment costs of the condemned building on the northwest corner of S. Baltimore Ave. and Talbot St. that was transformed into the new Fat Daddy’s mixed use project containing a larger restaurant, a retail bay, and upper story seasonal housing that is nearly complete.
Last summer the OCDC and its Boardwalk Committee completed and installed six businesses directory signs for the full
boardwalk. The list includes nearly 300 businesses and condominiums located along the length of the Boardwalk. This committee will be updating this list for the 2014 summer season. The signs were made by Jack Curry of Signs illustrated.
As far as the OCDC’s Public Art Committee, the newest project is a dolphin sculpture to be located near the Route 90 bridge entrance into Ocean City that is expected to be installed by the end of June.
Recently, the OCDC and Town of Ocean City agreed to complete a land exchange of properties that will allow for the construction of a new Ocean City Beach Patrol headquarters on the current OCDC-owned lots and will also set the table for a new private developer to construct mixed use project on the Somerset/Dorchester streets block in the future.
“Two goals are being accomplished. Not only will downtown continue to have this important city division headquartered out of the downtown area, but the town and county will see new tax revenue benefits from a privately owned project on the Somerset/Dorchester streets block,” Givarz said.
In other news, the OCDC was just awarded funding from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore for 10 new bike racks to be located along the Boardwalk. OCDC Executive Director Glenn Irwin accepted a $2,000 check presented by Lauren Taylor, foundation board member.
Several awards were presented at the conclusion of the evening, starting with John Gehrig and G. Hale Harrison, who were each thanked for their service on the OCDC Board.
Marina Deck at 306 Dorchester St. owner Dennis Kalchthaler, contractor Assawoman Bay Builders Concepts and architect Keith Fisher and Old Town Apartments at 10 8th Street owners Peter and Kozmas Gjikuria and contractor Peter Ivan Construction were awarded Façade Project Program awards.
Hetrick Ocean Enterprises at 5 12th Street, contractor Patterson & Sons Builders Inc. and architect Avitable/Cirile and Fat Daddy’s at 216 S. Baltimore Ave. owner Ed Braude, contractor Sens, Inc. and architect of Atlantic Planning received New Construction Awards.
Captain Bull Bunting’s The Angler Restaurant at 312 Talbot Street, contractor Oliver Builders, Inc. and architect Jeffrey Schoellkopf, and The Romarletta/Korrell House at 611 Baltimore Ave. owner Captain Harry F. Korrell and contractor Sealevel Maintenance received Renovation Awards.
De Lazy Lizard Brew Pub at 25 Philadelphia Avenue owner Wayne Odachowski, contractor Assawoman Bay Builders Concept and architect Keith Fisher received a Business Assistance Award and the Downtown Association of Ocean City received the OCDC Organizational Award.
A standing ovation was given when Worcester County Commissioner Louise Gulyas received an individual award as an outgoing OCDC Board of Director, as she will also be not seeking re-election to the commission at the end of her term.
OCDC Nominating Committee Chair Charlie Barrett concluded the meeting by presenting returning and newly elected OCDC Board members. Returning is C. Terry Hough, Jay Knerr, Patricia Ilczuk-Lavanceau and Reid Tingle. The board received two new members, Bryon Davis and Jesse Houston.