City Plans to Invest More in Boardwalk, Roads and Repairs
Mayor Jay Gillian's administration presents a capital plan that makes up for lost time in infrastructure repairs.
A complete replacement of the Ocean City Boardwalk and its substructure between Fifth and 12th streets over the next nine years is part of a plan presented by Mayor Jay Gillian's administration on Tuesday night.
The $1.8 million-per-year Boardwalk project and a variety of other replacement, repair and remodeling projects are part of a five-year capital plan presented to City Council at a public workshop meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
"It's not cheap to run a city," Gillian said. "But if you don't do it, this is what happens."
"What happens," apparently, is that a long list of projects builds up—roads that don't drain and lagoons that don't flow, bulkheads that fail to hold back the bay and a host of other public facilities that need repair.
The administration is proposing to borrow more money to take care of long-ignored projects, increasing debt service by about $600,000 to $800,000 per year as it moves from about $8.3 million now to about $12 million by 2018, according to Finance Director Frank Donato.
Donato said the annual increases might add a half-penny annually to the tax rate (or $5 for every $100,000 of property value) if cuts are not made elsewhere.
City Council must still consider, potentially revise and vote on the plan as the annual budget process moves forward. While funding of the plan will be the subject of debate, no council member argued with the need to take care of the city's infrastructure.
"A stitch in time saves nine," Councilman Keith Hartzell said. "It's a goofy saying, but it's real."
The Capital Plan for 2012
- Boardwalk: The plan proposes spending $1,775,000 in 2012 to start removing select portions of the concrete substructure and reconstructing the whole Boardwalk from pilings to decking (of southern yellow pine). The decking would be built off-site in sections by in-house staff (at a substantial cost savings). The entire project — from Fifth to 12th Street — would take nine years to complete.
- Beach: The plan proposes spending $1,350,000 (an 8.75 percent share) for a beach replenishment project between Seaspray Road and 36th Sreet. The project is anticipated as part of a three-year cycle in the federally funded project. Ocean City's payment is contingent on the federal government approving the work.
- City Hall Annex: A proposal for the city to spend $500,000 to $600,000 to renovate City Hall as part of a public-private partnership with the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce is cut in half in the capital plan. The plan calls for spending $275,000 on a renovated Annex — enough to add public bathrooms and new offices with the possibility of a partnership still open.
- Carey Field: The plan calls for an overhaul of the track and playing field at the stadium behind Ocean City High School. It would add artificial turf to the field. The city would bond for $1.5 million for the project, but the school district would repay the city $750,000 over the course of several years (in an agreement that would still need to be negotiated). The city says the artificial turf would both save on maintenance costs and provide a revenue opportunity with the ability to host more events at the city-owned facility.
- Paving: Merion Park streets including parts of Argyle Place, Oxford Lane, Victoria Lane, Westminster and Waterview will be paved. Wesley Avenue (between 27th and 26th streets), Pennlyn Place (Ocean Ave. to the beach), Seventh Street (West Ave. to the beach), Eighth Street (West Ave. to Atlantic Ave.) and West Avenue (between Eighth and Ninth streets) will also be paved. Total cost: $2.4 million.
- Rest Rooms: Temporary (seasonal) rest rooms at the Boardwalk level at two street ends (to be determined) and at the 15th Street playground are budgeted at $60,000.
- Other: A Marcus Harbor bulkhead ($300,000), new lights for the fields at Fifth Street and Bay Avenue ($400,000) and bike/pedestrian improvements ($55,000) are among other items in the capital plan for 2012.
- For a complete list of 2012 projects, click on the first PDF icon above.
- For a list of 2013 to 2016 projects, click on the second PDF icon above.
- For financing detail, click on the third PDF icon above.
- The fifth PDF combines these three documents.
The City Council workshop also included an update on project that already are approved or in the works. The projects include:
- Bulkhead replacements at Fourth, Sixth and 15th streets with work projected to start by the end of January and be complete by June.
- Paving work that has started on parts of Simpson Avenue (North Street to Battersea), First Street, Fourth Street, Fifth Street, 11th Street, Asbury Avenue (45th to 42nd), 43rd Street, 44th Street and 45th Street.
- Paving work recommended for approval at the City Council meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12. Projects include: Bayland Drive (south terminus to 28th Street with work to include upgraded drainage and road elevations), Valmar Court and Summer Court (concrete gutter and driveway apron replacement).
- Paving work recommended for approval at the City Council meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12. The work includes paving of Wesley Avenue (from 29th to 27th streets) and 29th Street (in the dogleg block between Central and Wesley). Work on this stretch of road includes an attempt to eliminate the need for beach outfall pipes at 27th, 28th and 29th streets by installing a new underground stormwater management system called Stormtech Chambers.
- For a complete list of these projects and detail on Stormtech Chambers, click on fourth PDF icon above.