Planning Continues For New Pines Kick-Off Event

OCEAN PINES – Planning for a community showcase event will move forward with support from the Ocean Pines board.

Last Saturday, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors agreed to have a new work group continue planning for an Ocean Pines Season Kick-Off event next spring. Work group representatives Gary Miller and Linda Yurche said the board’s support will allow the committee to develop plans and budget estimates for an event that will promote Ocean Pines and its amenities.

“This is to showcase everything there is to enjoy about living in Ocean Pines, not just for full- and part-time residents, but for their guests and potential future homeowners,” Yurche said. “We think there are a lot of things to show off for people who might want to live here eventually.”

In last week’s presentation, Miller said the idea for a season kick-off came about last September, when Ocean Pines Aquatics Committee member Ellen Hench pitched the idea for an event that would promote aquatics memberships. From there, plans for a larger community showcase took shape.

“The idea was to bring more information to the residents about aquatics,” he explained. “That idea warped into a bigger event with all the amenities and highlight all that Ocean Pines has to offer. We want to reinforce the fact that Ocean Pines is a great place to live.”

Miller noted an ad hoc committee was formed and included board liaison Doug Parks and representatives from various Ocean Pines committees. He said the group has also worked alongside General Manager John Viola and Recreation and Parks Director Debbie Donahue.

With a new board now installed, he said the group was seeking the board’s approval to continue with planning.

“The goal of this presentation is to get the board’s approval to continue the detailed planning that’s necessary and to give the GM the opportunity to include the potential cost in the upcoming budget,” he said. “If approved to move forward, we will need a new liaison.”

Yurche told board members last week the Ocean Pines Season Kick-Off event will be scheduled for next spring, on a date to be determined. She noted, however, that the group has identified White Horse Park as the proposed site.

“We discussed the right venue for it, the right date, the right timing,” she said. “What we came up with was a Saturday afternoon, after the farmers market vendors clear out, at White Horse Park. There’s plenty of room for parking, rain shelter, etcetera.”

Yurche said the kick-off will feature music, food, drinks, demonstrations and displays from several amenities, clubs and community groups. She said more than 50 groups have expressed interest in participating.

“We don’t just want people picking up something from a booth …,” she added. “We want it to be interactive. So there might be a Zumba class. There might be a pickleball demo. Or there might be a cook-off or sampling.”

Yurche said the kick-off would not only showcase association amenities and clubs but would generate membership income and reinforce Ocean Pines as a community that offers something for everyone.

“What we’re asking for at this point is your blessing to go ahead and continue to explore this, to develop a more solid budget, to develop a date and plan, and really put together what it would take to put this event on,” she said.

Director Stuart Lakernick said he had questions about cost, insurance, and revenue. Yurche said the group estimated a cost of $15,000, based on previous events, but said that those details would be explored further.

Association President Rick Farr applauded the concept, but questioned how the event would impact community departments.

“I’m fine with moving forward with the concept, so we could get more solid information on the financial aspect, and also how it is going to affect the association in general,” he said.

After further discussion, the board agreed to have planning continue for the Ocean Pines Season Kick-Off. They said a new liaison would be assigned to the work group.

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.