Downtown Recreation Complex Project Enters New Phase

Downtown Recreation Complex Project Enters New Phase
Above, a rendering shows planned improvements at the Downtown Recreation Complex. Submitted Image

OCEAN CITY – The next phase of construction will soon begin at the Ocean City Downtown Recreation Complex.

On Tuesday, the Town of Ocean City announced the next phase of demolition and construction would begin in the east block of the Downtown Recreation Complex on or around Oct. 1. To that end, starting Oct. 1, all park amenities – except for the Ocean Bowl Skate Park – will be unavailable for public use.

“We cannot wait to open the revitalized Downtown Recreation Complex,” Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito said in a statement. “We believe the new amenities will not only enhance the quality of life for our residents, but also attract visitors to enjoy our vibrant recreational facilities.”

Located between 3rd and 4th streets bayside and bounded by Philadelphia and Chicago avenues, the Downtown Recreation Complex is being redeveloped in phases to include various recreation opportunities and the expansion of the decades-old Ocean Bowl Skate Park.

For the east section of the complex, the plan includes an expanded skate park, relocating the existing basketball courts and an improved inclusive playground area.

The section to the west would be less developed and more passive. It includes a vast flexible lawn in the center surrounded by trees for pickup sports and other events, a playground area, new restrooms and more.

The recreational fishing areas along the bulkhead would also be retained.

The project also calls for the portion of Chicago Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets to close, as that portion of the roadway has already been converted into a walkway.

Earlier this month, the Mayor and Council voted unanimously to a first reading authorizing the road’s closure.

“Anyone who has visited the site can see construction has already taken place,” City Engineer Paul Mauser said earlier this month. “Essentially, it’s a done deal. But I think we still need an official council vote to officially close that section of the Chicago Avenue corridor.”

Officials say the redevelopment of the Downtown Recreation Complex represents a significant step forward in the town’s commitment to enhancing recreational opportunities in the community.

After two years of planning, officials broke ground on the park project in April.

Currently, the Downtown Recreation Complex is expected to reopen during the summer of 2024.

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.