OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s first and only oceanfront playground is officially open.
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, city officials and partners who worked to install the playground joined together to celebrate in a grand opening at its location on North Division Street and the Boardwalk.
The playground, fully funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Community Parks and Playgrounds grant program, is now the third amenity to replace the wooden structures that were previously located on the beach. These “beach toys,” as they were referred to, were removed in 2013 due to public safety concerns.
Since that time, the Town of Ocean City has added two pieces of play equipment, a dinosaur bones play structure and Wally the Whale. The town’s new oceanfront playground is located between the two.
Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito thanked city officials, organizations and businesses who played a part in the playground’s installation.
“This playground wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of a lot of people,” she said.
Mayor Rick Meehan said the playground was used by many kids last weekend and added that the free amenity would support the town’s mission of providing outdoor activities.
“They were attracted to it, they love it,” he said. “It’s being outside. It’s all the good things we are trying to promote here in Ocean City.”
Meehan also recognized Petito for her involvement in bringing the playground to the Boardwalk.
“It was her leadership that helped bring this together,” he said.
Resident Heather Crist said she has taken her daughter to the oceanfront playground on a daily basis since it was built.
“Every day she wants to come to this playground,” she said. “So since they’ve opened we’ve come here every single day. We didn’t even know any of this was even going on today.”
Crist applauded the town for installing the playground.
“It’s good for the kids,” she said. “It gives them something to do rather than just sit on the beach. A lot of parents go into the stores while the kids are at the playground and it lets the kids burn off a lot of energy.”