Traditional Playground Eyed Off Boards

OCEAN CITY – A solution may have been found in adding a new playground to the beach off the Boardwalk.

On Tuesday afternoon Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito proposed to the Recreation and Parks Commission using this year’s Community Parks and Playgrounds Grant funds to purchase a playground to go on the beach downtown.

For the past couple of years, the Recreation and Parks Department has been exploring different avenues in replacing the beach toys that were removed due to becoming outdated.

Last summer the first beach playground replacement of dinosaur bones was put on the beach. Other options have been considered that are similar to the dinosaur structure that was placed on the beach last summer, but the high price tags led to the matter being tabled at that time.

This week Petito returned to the commission presenting the town’s annual application for State of Maryland’s Community Parks and Playgrounds Grant as a solution.

Usually the town uses the grant to replace playground equipment and Petito recommended using the grant funds to construct a traditional playground structure on the beach with multi-play pieces, such as slides, swings and climbers.

The only location identified to do so is on North Division Street that angles into the beach between the current concrete pad bump out and the wooden walkway.

As proposed the playground would be a permanent fixture to avoid having to be moved in the time of storms. Therefore, the concrete pad bump out would be extended to affix the playground to the ground. The proper matting would be placed, and the facility would be ADA accessible. As well as, being located next to the tram lane a fence would be installed surrounding the playground.

“It would require maintenance,” Petito said. “The matting proposed will help sand blow through but we believe no matter what we put there it is going to get sand blasted but it won’t limit our ability in what that playground can be with the challenges that the beach structures have in being a certain size and weight.”

The grant would cover the project 100 percent except for maintenance costs but the deadline is Aug. 19. With no time to waste, the commission approved the grant application and will report the action item to the full Mayor and Council during Monday evening’s meeting.

The town will receive a response from the state on the grant in June of next year.