Adopt Your Street Program Needs Jumpstart

OCEAN CITY- Officials with the Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, spent most of Wednesday’s meeting discussing possible solutions to the Adopt Your Street program and issues pertaining to mitigation plans.

Earlier in the year, the Ocean City Surf Club (OCSC) partnered with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) to establish a sister program to Adopt Your Beach that would direct cleanup efforts to the streets. But program officials have yet to see the same participation rate.

“It’s the appeal,” MCBP Development and Marketing Coordinator Sandi Smith said. “Getting people to sign up is a commitment issue.”

To address this problem, Smith discussed the possibility of partnering with local restaurants, including Seacrets, Fager’s Island and Macky’s, to reduce waste within the resort.

Discussions included possible plans to reduce mass-volume purchasing on plastic and straw products and sponsorship of surrounding streets.

According to Smith, Seacrets has already reduced straw use in its drinks, and said other restaurants can follow suit.

“It gives them the answer,” Smith said.

Councilman and Green Team liaison Tony DeLuca also expressed interest in making the Adopt Your Street program a possible advertising opportunity for the restaurants.

“There has to be a connection between Adopt Your Beach and Adopt Your Street,” he said.

Although city officials have restricted sign usage, DeLuca and the city’s Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer suggested an emblem to place on the sidewalks. Instead of the sponsor’s name being placed on a sign, it would be placed on the street.

Smith said she would be working throughout the winter to introduce the plans to businesses in March.

“It’s good for the city,” OCSC representative and Adopt Your Beach Coordinator Effie Cox said. “It’s a positive sign for people who come here each weekend.”

Also in the meeting, Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville discussed updates to Ocean City’s All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, which contains protocols for emergency events.

Neville said the town was required to update the plan every five years and submit it to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for approval. But before he sends it to the city council for review, Neville addressed questions to the Green Team about the five-year plan for future projects.

“We want to get our story straight before it goes to FEMA,” he said.

On the list, Neville added phase two backflow preventers and water infiltration solutions, all of which were agreed to by Blazer.

DeLuca suggested Neville produce an executive summery and list of next steps for the city council to review.

A public hearing on the revised plan will occur in January or February, according to Neville.

Lastly, Plak That Printing Company business owner Wyatt Harrison was at the meeting to address concerns about pet waste and showers along the Boardwalk, as well as the carbon footprint of car weekends on the town.

Harrison urged the town to consider pet waste bins on or near the Boardwalk and new shower handles that reduces water usage.

Blazer and DeLuca also agreed to have someone from the city look into measuring the carbon footprint of car events.

“We have to be real about the fact that people are driving down in these cars,” Blazer said.

“And burning their tires town here,” Cox added.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.