Recreation Repairs Eyed In Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — A handful of urgent projects around the resort not included in the current budget could be jumpstarted after resort officials this week learned the money is available to move forward with them.

Recreation and Parks Department Director Susan Petito this week told the Recreation and Parks Committee there are a handful of much-needed projects around the resort that should be expedited in time for the next summer season, including resurfacing tennis courts, replacing the decking on a portion of the skate park downtown and improvements at Northside Park. Petito said the projects weren’t included in the fiscal year 2017 budget, but the department had the funds available to complete them and she was looking for some direction from the committee.

“We didn’t put a lot of important projects in our budget this year because we wanted to maintain the status quo,” Petito told committee members this week. “We’d like to get permission from the Mayor and Council to proceed with some of these things because we have the money available in our fund balance, but we just aren’t certain how to proceed.”

Petito explained the ceiling needed to be replaced at the east gym at the Northside Park complex along with a siding project needed for some of the facilities. In addition, the surface of three of the clay tennis courts maintained by the department has worn down to the point they need a replacement called a “laser lift,” for example, according to the department’s Cal Ginnavan.

“You can get by for a while just adding a thin layer of surface, but these courts have now worn down to the point the rock subsurface is coming through and it needs a lift of about one-and-a-half inches,” he said. “There are three of them and the cost is about $12,000 each, so we’re looking at spending around $36,000 for the project. It’s critical that we get this done before the tennis season next year.”

In addition, a section of the Ocean Bowl skate park has been closed because the metal screws that hold down the plywood subsurface are popping through the metal decking, creating a safety hazard.

“It’s one of our priorities,” he said. “The screws are popping through the metal in some places and the risk manager took a look at it and shut it down. We can take the metal off and repair the plywood subsurface and there might be an opportunity to reuse some of the metal we take off. We’ll know better on the cost estimate when we figure out what can be saved.”

Petito was seeking direction from the council to move ahead.

“Since the funding has been approved, I wasn’t sure if I had to come back to the Mayor and Council for approval for these specific projects,” she said.

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.