Council Buys Time in Search for Better Boardwalk Material
Ocean City will consider options for more durable Boardwalk decking.
City Council on Thursday rejected 13 bids for a contract to replace a block of the Ocean City Boardwalk.
The bids were for the $1 million first phase (between Fifth and Sixth streets) of a nine-year project to replace the substructure and decking of the Boardwalk between Fifth and 12th streets.
Frustrated by the quality of southern yellow pine that splinters and cracks, the city administration wants to consider different materials before readvertising for new bids. The city will study new wood products that include synthetic agents for increased strength and durability.
But in public comment at Thursday's meeting, Johnson's Popcorn owner John Stauffer asked City Council to consider green heart, a hardwood from Guyana that is reportedly environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Stauffer lives near a stretch of Boardwalk that was redecked with Brazilian ipe in 1988, and 24 years later, the city has not had to replace a single board, he said.
While objections from environmentalists led Ocean City to abandon a plan to use more ipe, Stauffer suggested the question of which materials to use could be decided by voters in a referendum.
Wes Kazmarck, president of the Boardwalk Merchants Association, and Wesley Avenue resident Bob Hutchinson also spoke in favor of using hardwoods or anything but pine to redeck the Boardwalk.
Stauffer provided a sample of green heart to council members.