OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) celebrated with state, local and county officials the completion of the 150th Façade Improvement Project in downtown Ocean City this week.
On Tuesday afternoon, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Secretary Raymond Skinner of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) gathered with local officials and leadership from the OCDC to celebrate the completion of OCDC’s 150th Façade Improvement Project in downtown Ocean City.
The most recent project is located at 5 11th Street owned by June Regan and family. All 150 projects have been funded partly through grant awards from the State’s Community Legacy Program and have helped improve the exteriors of Ocean City businesses, homes and employee housing units.
“This is a great occasion in Ocean City. It was just a couple of years ago we were acknowledging the 100th façade that had been completed in Ocean City, and here now just a short time later we are up to 150, which is I understand more than anywhere else in the state,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said. “I want to congratulate you [OCDC]. You have made a big difference in the Town of Ocean City, not just with the façade program but with the downtown and midtown design programs. Everything you have done has made Ocean City a better place.”
Brown recalled eight years ago when the Community Legacy Program kicked off, and since then $41 million in grants has funded 440 projects throughout the state that has created 1,300 permanent jobs and 3,000 temporary jobs for Maryland workers.
“We have had a lot of successes but certainly our work is not complete. We are far from finishing the investment we need to make in our communities to make sure every place is a great place to live, a great place to work, a great place to raise a family, and a great place for people to visit,” Brown said. “We are here today to announce a milestone for this program in Ocean City. With the completion of this project we have completed 150 facades here in Ocean City, an important step in preserving one of Maryland’s most important and historic communities. Ocean City is a great place where people can visit, and is a critical part of our tourism industry that has grown by 30 percent over the past eight years. Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the State of Maryland, so it is certainly incumbent upon all of us, especially as we are investing in facilities and facades in the communities, to support tourism attracting visitors to Maryland.”
Skinner said no other community in the state that has a better community development group than the OCDC in Ocean City.
“When I think about Ocean City, I think about the beaches, the great food and restaurants, eating crabs and having fun, going to Seacrets but typically when you think about Ocean City you don’t think about revitalization or redevelopments as you do with some of our other urban areas,” the secretary said. “I would like to say that the work that we do makes a visible difference, a difference that you can see, and you cans see that here in Ocean City. Through these 150 façade grants in this small area, the older historical part of Ocean City, you can really see a visible difference that these small grants have made.”
OCDC President Bob Givarz said the progress could not have been done without the cooperation of the Ocean City Mayor and Council, the Worcester County Commissioners and the partners with the state.
“With the success of the façade program, I think you can see it visually but you can also see it economically. With every dollar the state has given us, we have been able to return a 5-to-1 ratio, and I think that is very important for the taxpayers and the citizens of the state, as well as our local community,” Givarz said. “It is a win-win. It is a good public-private partnership, and it is a great example of how the state government, county, city government, along with the private organization can work together.”