Ocean City visitors will notice a major change when they go to park downtown next summer. The Mayor and Council agreed to spend about $600,000 to overhaul the paid parking system on downtown streets and municipal parking lots, including the Inlet.
While there will certainly be an education component with it, the new system will be an improvement over the current one. I’m most interested in the planned enhancements to the Inlet parking lot system.
Over the years, the gated system has proven to have numerous flaws at peak times with vehicles having to pay to wait to exit the booth. Horror stories of waiting an hour or two for traffic to clear through the ticket booths have been reported in the summer, especially during the peak stretch of the last few weeks of July through the first two weeks of August.
Mayor Rick Meehan said this week there have been instances when the backup situation was so severe the city had no recourse but to just “open the gates and let everyone leave” the parking lot without paying. That’s a sign of desperation. It’s inexcusable and a clear indication the current system is flawed.
City Engineer Terry McGean explained the new parking system, which relies on license plate reading technology, will be a positive throughout the downtown, particularly at the Inlet.
“It would reduce manpower, remove those ticket booths at the Inlet lot and eliminate those huge backups when everybody tries to leave at the same time on a summer night and add 72 spaces,” he said. “The net increase in revenue would be around $200,000. With the $200,000 increase in revenue in just one year, it would pay for the entire citywide system within five years. We think that’s conservative and we think we can do even better than that.”
Big house fires – like the one on Tuesday afternoon involving a South Main Street residence — are rare in Berlin. It’s especially sad when it involves an old home that’s been well taken care of for years.
The proverbial silver lining in this cloud for the local family that’s been displaced by the blaze is the community wants to help them in their time of need. Hours after the fire, a GoFundMe page was set up to help the homeowners in the process of determining what’s salvageable as well as easing their stress while the insurance process plays out. As of Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m., the online effort had raised $6,100 through donations from 75 people in one day. That’s an amazing response from many well-intentioned human beings. The generosity was not lost on the family.
“I want to thank everyone who has offered their homes, time, talent, resources, and sympathy in the wake of the fire at my parents’ house on Tuesday in Berlin,” Lindsay Koenig wrote on the GoFundMe page. “There are too many of you to name.The outpouring of love and support from our community means the world to us. They’ve determined the fire began with an arc from a power strip in the den on the first floor, and most of the damage is centralized to that side of the house. … It’s unclear at this point what’s salvageable. … Work will begin on the house and ideally they’ll be able to move back in in 6-8 months. Above all we are INCREDIBLY lucky my parents and brother weren’t home when this all happened. Everyone is safe, and we and their surviving cat will be together through the holidays and through all that follows. And again, we are so, so fortunate to have the support of our friends and family near and far. So thank you. We love you. And happy holidays.”
It happens every year around this time. Word starts getting out about businesses changing hands or closing for a variety of reasons.
On the heels of Culture’s closing in West Ocean City earlier this fall, two of the more noteworthy changes of late include the purchase of Dr. Victor Gong’s medical practice on 75th Street by the owners of West Ocean City Injury and Illness Center as well as the uncertain future of the Adolfo’s Italian Restaurant on 13th Street.
Adolfo’s owners David and Kimberly Griffin received a wealth of support after they posted on Facebook Dec. 1 that this would be their last month inside the Phillips Beach Plaza. The future is unclear at this point, according to owners David and Kimberly Griffin.
“It is with heavy hearts that after 17 wonderful years, Adolfo’s may be closing its doors,” they wrote in an advertisement last week. “NYE may be our last night. We are most deeply grateful to all of you for your longtime loyalty and support. It has been our honor to cook for you, and to host your milestone family affairs. We hold a myriad of treasured memories. Equally, we are most beholden to our stellar staff. Working side by side as a team every day, year after year with each of you has been our privilege and our pride. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your excellent work ethic and devotion to our beloved restaurant.
“Finally, we would like to say that although we are brokenhearted to leave our Beach Plaza location, our blessings far outweigh our burdens, and we are proud to have offered a welcoming atmosphere, whether we were downtown or at 13th Street, walking into Adolfo’s was always like coming home. So, on that note, we hope you can visit ‘home’ one last time.”
Here’s to hoping the Griffins find a new “home” soon enough.