OCEAN CITY — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s administration this week announced over $11 million in effective neighborhood revitalization and job creation programs to local jurisdictions all over the state including several in Worcester County and around the Lower Shore.
Hogan announced on Tuesday the roughly $11 million in grants will be made available to local jurisdictions, including Ocean City, Berlin and Snow Hill and Worcester and also Wicomico County.
The neighborhood revitalization grants generally fall under two major categories including the Community Legacy Program and the Strategic Demolition Fund, although there is also a category dubbed the Baltimore Regional Neighborhoods Initiative.
“My administration is committed to revitalizing Maryland’s older communities,” said Hogan. “These grants will help local communities make necessary improvements while paving the way for additional public and private investments in their neighborhoods and along their streets.”
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt said the grants will be distributed to local jurisdictions for projects that need a fiscal leg-up from the state.
“The Hogan administration is committed to providing restoration and operational capital to hose older communities across Maryland whose infrastructure requires immediate attention and repair,” he said. “We will rely on community leaders and organizations to indicate their most pressing needs and we will respond with quick and effective support.
That quick and effective state support is evident in the number of projects tabbed to receive the grants in Ocean City and throughout Worcester and Wicomico. Under the Community Legacy program grants, Worcester County will receive a total of $275,000 in various grants to local jurisdictions for a wide variety of projects.
For example, the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) will receive $50,000 for its ongoing Façade Improvement Program, which has enhanced the exterior appearance of well over 100 older buildings in the downtown area. OCDC Executive Director Glenn Irwin said the organization was pleased to be a grant recipient from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
“These annual grants have been very instrumental in our downtown revitalization efforts in Ocean City,” he said. “To receive funding to continue the OCDC Façade Improvement Program is great news. The Façade Improvement Program is OCDC’s most popular and effective program and has resulted in many downtown properties being renovated.”
The OCDC will also receive an additional $50,000 for its Green Building Initiatives Program, which provides energy-efficient materials to business-related buildings in the downtown area.
“The Green Building Initiative Program funding will help at least 10 downtown property owners to increase the energy efficiency of their business properties by installing items such as new Energy Star-rated windows and doors,” he said.
Also through the Community Legacy Program, the town of Berlin is set to receive $50,000 for its ongoing Façade Renovation Program. The town of Snow Hill is set to receive the lion’s share of Worcester County’s cut of the Community Legacy funding with $125,000 heading to the county seat to implement a program designed to improve the physical appearance of both the exterior and interior of commercial and residential buildings throughout the town.
Also under the Community Legacy category, the city of Salisbury is set to receive $50,000 for its Neighborhood Intervention Program. The funding will be used to purchase dilapidated houses throughout the city and demolish them if rehabilitation is not a cost-effective alternative.
Tuesday’s grant announcement also included state Strategic Demolition Fund allocations for local jurisdictions around the state including Ocean City and Worcester County. The OCDC is set to receive an additional $200,000 in funding to help defray the cost of demolishing the old Royalton Hotel on the Boardwalk at 11th Street. Earlier this year, the Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission approved the site plan for a new mixed-used hotel and commercial project on the Royalton property.
“The funding of the Royalton Hotel project will assist the Royalton owners in the expensive demolition process,” he said. “This project will result in a new, attractive mixed-use project that has been long overdue. All three of these funding awards will produce other spin-off benefits throughout the downtown area and elsewhere.”
In addition, the Town of Snow Hill will receive $100,000 to assist with a future rehabilitation of the old Mason’s Opera House. The funding will be used to create engineering documents defining the infrastructure needs of the old opera house in Snow Hill, which has been identified as potential catalyst for a rebirth of sorts in the county seat.