OCEAN CITY — The on again, off again public boat ramp at 64th Street in Ocean City appears to be back on track this week after the Mayor and Council on Tuesday accepted a handful of contractor bids for the project.
Back in 2012, the Mayor and Council approved a new public access boat ramp at 64th Street in an area acquired by the town adjacent to its vast Public Works complex. The project includes dredging the channel in the surrounding area and constructing a two-lane boat ramp with access for the public. The project also includes a 50-space parking area for trailers and small comfort station and other amenities.
The new boat ramp at 64th Street will replace the town’s only other existing public access boat ramp in the Little Salisbury area. After years of wrestling with an outdated and over-utilized public boat ramp in the Little Salisbury residential area, along with complaints of traffic, parking, noise and litter, the town identified the site at 64th Street as a more appropriate location for the city-owned boat ramp because it’s surrounded by commercial and governmental uses and is centrally located.
Once the 64th Street site was identified as the best location for the boat ramp, the town purchased additional space adjacent to the boat ramp to accommodate the trailer parking and other amenities. However, acquiring all of the property needed for the project became difficult and was complicated by conflicting appraisals for the lots during the purchase negotiations.
With the property acquired and the design work completed, the town is now ready to begin the construction phase. On Tuesday, the Mayor and Council opened three bids from private contractors for the project including a low bid of around $774,000 to a high bid of just over $1 million.
The project is being funded through a partnership between the town of Ocean City and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the DNR’s Waterway Improvement Program. The total budget for the project, including the DNR’s contribution is around $1.5 million.
During Tuesday’s meeting, a question was raised about the future of the existing boat ramp in Little Salisbury. Resident John Medlin raised the question and said he believed the Little Salisbury community had expressed an interest in purchasing the old boat ramp for the community’s private use. However, City Engineer Terry McGean said the future of the old ramp was unclear.