Northside Park Projects ‘Must Absolutely Be Done’; Bond Proposed To Complete Work

OCEAN CITY – Renovations to the building at Northside Park can’t be put on hold any longer as city officials deliberate adding priority projects to the next bond issuance in December to complete the must haves.

Last week Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito presented the Recreation and Parks Commission with a list of must have projects at Northside Park.

“As you may remember through the budget process, we had identified certain projects at Northside Park that really need some renovation, and we are at a point where some of these projects must absolutely be done,” Petito said.

In working with Finance Director Martha Bennett and Budget Manager Jennie Knapp the idea came about to bundle several of the projects together to be included in the next bond issuance.

Some of the priority projects listed are the repair of the East Gym floor in the amount of $80,000 and several roof replacements, including $89,000 for the flat room between the east and west gyms and $610,000 for the west side roof replacement as well as $88,000 to repair the exterior west side of the building at Northside Park. The list also includes $155,000 in parking lot repairs along Jamaica Ave.

“When it was designed it all drains from the north and south to a central location of the parking lot. Our tent [Winterfest] is set up on the north portion, so when it rains and the trains are loading, the people standing in line are in an inch of water because that is the way it flows,” Parks Superintendent Calvin Ginnavan explained. “It needs to be looked at.”

Petito also reported that the pole lighting at the Tennis Center is rusted and a pole fell down during a recent wind storm. City Electrician David Scott has visited the Tennis Center and inspected the light poles, stating they need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Councilman Wayne Hartman brought up the town is currently working on a city-wide LED lighting project and asked staff to speak to City Engineer Terry McGean about including the Tennis Center in the project.

“The most important thing for us right now is to get your blessing to do what we have to do to get these in the bond issue,” Petito said.

Commission Chair Councilman Dennis Dare agrees the building at Northside Park is in need of a renovation, as it is about 30 years old.

“We have done bits and pieces but it would be nice to go ahead and bond it … that was the mistake we made before in patching the roof. It is not worth lawsuits and more damage to the facility. This is just maintaining the infrastructure,” Dare said.

Dare suggested going for the full amount in the bond issuance and any savings can go toward lower priority items, such as the parking lot and new garage doors at the maintenance building. However, Knapp interjected the priority items are already taking up about 98 percent of the bond budget, so there will not be much left over.

“The bond makes sense in paying for itself over time … I want to get it done,” Council President Lloyd Martin said.

After further discussion Hartman asked for the commission to better review the items outside of the high priority status at the next meeting, as well as receive more detail on all the proposed projects.

The discussion will be continued at the next commission meeting on Sept. 1. The bond issuance will most likely take place in December.