OCEAN CITY — After months of planning, implementing initiatives and keeping a running scorecard, the town of Ocean City last week was honored with a prestigious Sustainable Maryland Certified Award.
The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland last Friday announced Ocean City was one of 14 Maryland municipalities to earn the coveted Sustainable Maryland Certified Award.
Sustainable Maryland is an initiative designed to support the state’s 157 municipalities as they look for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities. Using best practices in areas such as water resources, energy, planning, health, food and economy, municipalities including Ocean City worked to earn points toward sustainability.
The benchmark for attaining the distinction was 150 points, but the town of Ocean City, through the dedication of Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer and the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or “Green Team,” had blown past the mark months ahead of last week’s announcement.
Mayor Rick Meehan praised the efforts to attain the distinction.
“We are surrounded by natural beauty in Ocean City, with our pristine beaches and our breathtaking ocean and bay,” he said. “Our community, and specifically the town’s Green Team, has remained committed to preserving the natural beauty that exists in Ocean City by taking steps to be a more sustainable community. Receiving the Sustainable Maryland Certified Award was a team effort and an accomplishment that we are very proud of. As a town and a community, we will remain committed to meeting our resort town’s needs while also refusing to compromise the integrity of our community for future generations.”
Among the program highlights were developing a homeowner’s guide to the coastal bays, including green gardening and native planting, recycling rules and healthy housekeeping practices. The Green Team and its partners also established a volunteer-based Dune Patrol and this year created the Adopt Your Beach and Adopt Your Street programs among others.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, who serves as liaison to the Green Team, had high praise for staff members.
“I’m really pleased with the announcement last Friday,” he said. “Through the hard work of Gail Blazer and the Green Team, including over a year of follow-ups and detail, Ocean City was named a Sustainable Maryland community. It really means a lot to this city. It brings a lot of green distinctions and is also creates grant opportunities, which is so important.”