OCEAN CITY – An $80,000 grant is expected to help Ocean City develop a strategic plan.
In a meeting of the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee this week, President Paul Mauser announced the town had recently submitted a grant application through the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Bikeways Program to complete a strategic plan as part of the resort’s effort to develop a more bikeable community.
“We applied for an $80,000 grant through the state,” he said. “That will be enough to bring in a pretty good private consultant to prepare plans and cost estimates for the town.”
In 2018, the town sought $80,000 in Bikeways funding to hire a consultant that would develop a bike master plan for the town. That application, however, was denied because the request did not meet the criteria for eligible projects.
Earlier this year, Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville began the task of creating an abbreviated version of a bike master plan in-house. But in recent weeks, the town learned it would be eligible for grant funding to complete a strategic plan.
“We called and spoke to MDOT personnel, and we found out we would very likely be approved for a strategic plan,” he said. “It’s different than a master plan in that a master plan is going to inventory every single street in town as a broad brushstroke, whereas a strategic plan is going to be much more actionable. The idea is it will provide the preliminary design and preliminary cost estimates for five to six corridors in town. It’s actually much better for us than a master plan.”
Councilman Tony DeLuca, committee liaison, applauded the efforts to seek grant funding. He noted, however, that he would still like the town to complete a master plan.
“I’d prefer to have both,” he said.
“The master plan is still a good document to have …,” he said. “We’re partway there.”
The MDOT Bikeways Program is a state-funded reimbursable grant program allocated on an annual basis. In 2016, Ocean City received more than $50,000 from the program to create a bike route along Sinepuxent Avenue, which runs from 146th Street to Montego Bay. And just last year, the town pursued roughly $60,000 in grant funding to construct a shared bike path in the residential community of Montego Bay, but that application was denied.