South Station Workgroup Issues RFP

OCEAN PINES – Officials say 10 firms have responded to a request for proposals as the association seeks a consultant to lead a feasibility study for a South Station capital campaign.

Last Saturday, General Manager John Viola presented the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors with an update on efforts to secure a consultant for the creation of a feasibility study, which will be used to kickstart a capital campaign for the construction of a new Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department (OPVFD) South Station.

Viola noted the request for proposals (RFP), issued on Sept. 26, had elicited responses from 10 consultants.

“Questions and responses were accepted through October 14 and the proposals are due October 31, 2022,” he added.

Viola noted the effort to find a consultant is being spearheaded by the OPVFD workgroup, which will assist the association in launching a capital campaign for the new South Station. While the group will seek a fundraising professional, the association must first hire a consultant to create a feasibility study.

“There will be an update to the board with a team recommendation on November 19, 2022 …,” Viola said. “After that, this will be a two-, three-month process with the consultant to create a feasibility study, and then we would reach out with an RFP, hopefully, for a fundraising company.”

In June, OPVFD leaders held a town hall meeting to discuss proposed South Station renovations, and the funding needed to make the project a reality. Officials told community members they are proposing an $8.6 million renovation that calls for a demolition of the station’s living and administrative quarters, the addition of a two-story building, and a new bay.

OPVFD officials say state contributions totaling $1.6 million and department reserve funding in the amount of $1 million will go toward South Station improvements. The department is also seeking the community’s support to fund the remaining $6 million.

In July, however, Director Frank Daly noted an existing memorandum of understanding between OPA and the fire department excluded funding for South Station improvements, but called for a joint capital campaign to raise funds for construction. To that end, the board voted unanimously to direct the general manager to form a workgroup to evaluate and select a fundraising professional for a capital fundraising effort.

In an update last week, Viola noted that the fire department had two years to begin using its grant funding. He said that gave the community time to raise additional money for the project.

“They received the grant in April, so we’ve got two years to activate it,” he said. “Once we start, we’ve got seven years to pull from it and pay for construction.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.