OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) received its first Impact Award at a meeting for the Community Development Network of Maryland (CDN) last month.
The non-profit organization was honored for maximizing the potential of its grant money and working with community members to revitalize the resort’s downtown area.
Since its inception in 2000, OCDC has partnered with business and residential owners to improve buildings and other areas from the Inlet to 17th Street.
The non-profit focuses its efforts on community development through various improvement programs and capital projects.
One of its programs, the Façade Improvement Program, has received numerous accolades throughout the years and is a driving force for the organization, according to OCDC executive director Glenn Irwin.
For every dollar of state grant money OCDC invests in this program, the private sector contributes between $6 and $7 of its own money, a number well above the state’s ratio requirement of 1:1.
This means that state grants have generated $5.5 million in private investment within the downtown area.
This achievement, in addition to its other programs, was recognized at the Oct. 28 annual awards meeting.
“We are thrilled to honor OCDC for its work to revitalize Ocean City’s downtown,” CDN’s Executive Director Odette Ramos said in a statement. “OCDC is one of the best organizations we have in the state, and a great model from which others can learn. They have perfected the art of applying, receiving and leveraging state dollars for maximum impact.”
As of 2015, OCDC has received 33 grants from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and other smaller grants, something that is hard to achieve, according to Irwin.
“We have been very successful at getting grants,” Irwin said. “That happens so long as you are spending money and it’s leveraged.”
As of last year, OCDC has utilized state grants to improve 185 different buildings, 30 of which under the Green Building program, through commercial, residential and employee housing initiatives.
The non-profit connects with residents and business owners through mostly word-of-mouth and before-and-after advertising.
“It’s really a comprehensive approach,” Irwin said. “We have several programs running now.”
The OCDC received one of the five awards given at the annual meeting Oct. 26, which gathered more than 250 attendees.
“I was very excited to receive this prestigious award,” Irwin said. “It is the first one we have received from the CDN.”
The CDN is a non-profit organization made up of 180 groups throughout the state. Its primary objective is to promote and advocate Maryland’s community development ventures.
In addition to its building improvement programs, OCDC also hosts art and street programs dedicated to decorating the downtown area with murals and sculptures, and to offer residents with walking paths and summer concert venues.
Lastly, the organization also hosts special yearly events, including street cleanup days.
For more information on OCDC, visit ocdc.org.