Crews Demolish City Hall Annex Ahead of Rebuilding Project

The renovated facility will include public restrooms and a downtown information center for Ocean City.

City Hall Annex—the ugly younger sister of Ocean City's century-old —crumbled Tuesday under the power of a backhoe.

The shoebox-shaped building, directly across Ninth Street from City Hall, is being demolished to make way for a rebuilt facility.

The new building will be part of a public-private partnership between the City of Ocean City and the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The new City Hall Annex will include public restrooms and an information center for visitors of Ocean City and its downtown shopping district. A paved parking area along Ninth Street will be replaced by a grassy area with benches and tables for the public. The building will include offices for both city employees and the Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday (March 8), on the second reading of a bond ordinance that appropriates $275,000 (among $6 million in other improvements) for the project. At the same public meeting, City Council will vote on a resolution to advertise for bids on a modular building.

Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian said the Chamber and the city are working on details of a lease plan that over time would reimburse the city for the full cost of the renovation.

"We're really looking forward to being there," Gillian said.

She said the Chamber will staff information centers (and beach tags sales) at both the renovated City Hall Annex and the new Welcome Center on the Route 52 causeway. The Chamber will vacate its leased offices at Ninth Street and Simpson Avenue when the new facilities are done.

Mayor Jay Gillian said his administration is committed to completing the project in time for the summer season.

Duffer March 06, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Such a waste of taxpayer's money. Disgusting!!!!
Mr. B March 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM
reimburse the city for the full cost of the renovation. and even if it is total cost of ownership through taxes, the ROI is much greater. the downtown needs a center, a meeting point, public bathrooms.
Duffer March 07, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Tearing down a building and putting up a new one is not a renovation.
Eleanor March 07, 2012 at 12:06 PM
I have been in that building. Are you telling me that there was no way it could be fitted up with new bathrooms and re configured for a fresher look? This is a HUGE waste of money - I am sick of stuff like this. Our taxes are out of control and you spend money on something like that?
Bob March 07, 2012 at 12:58 PM
"Taxes are out on control" in relation to what? Ocean City, despite having a full downtown, boardwalk, police department, fire department, etc. has some of the lowest tax rates in the area.
Salt E Water March 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The old building definitely needed some sprucing up, public bathrooms were needed and it is a good location; but for those of you asking why a whole new building, I think you may all find your answer when you determine who the contractor is.
Doug wing March 07, 2012 at 01:38 PM
It's about time!!! As a downtown business owner I have been waiting for this to happen for some time now and I applaud the administration for its decision to finally utilize this location for what it should be.
Denise Fisk-Baj March 07, 2012 at 01:56 PM
It's amazing that we have $$ for this but I don't see any plans for that 6 million going to restore/rebuild the skatepark at 6th and bwk that "somebody" tore down....what about the opinions of the people who fought so hard to get this----and don't give me that lame excuse---it needed repairs....there were drugs there....I never saw any "drugs" there...or it being in need of repair so badly that they had to tear it down......this was a perfect example of people doing whatever they want in this town and give and explanation after the fact....such BS if ya ask me!!! If it was so bad then why were ppl caught trying to steal the apparatus from behind the rec ctr???
di March 07, 2012 at 01:57 PM
How long have you lived here Eleanor? That building was an old gas staton.
PHILIP KOLEA March 07, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Denise Fisk-Baj March 07, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I don't agree.....a few bikes here and there is no big deal if your a skater....and I only noticed one ramp that could have used a new mat on it......it was not a disgrace and what about maybe hiring somebody professional to inspect it before just tearing it down.....I want documentation......and a place for our children to enjoy besides spending a fortune on the boardwalk every night.....not more parking spaces.....our local kids enjoyed that park and parents fought like hell to get it.........too shady for me!!! Just like the stupid mural that was a waste of money or the stupid park on 9th and west....which btw I have never seen not one person sit in there ??? Common sense.....give our kids back the skatepark!!!
Ed Sheppard March 07, 2012 at 02:35 PM
They should just leave the building torn down and convert the whole thing into a parking lot so people who want to patronize downtown businesses can do so
JB March 07, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Thats an excavator, not a backhoe.... I agree when will the skate park return? This is sorely missed. I never saw drugs there, sure a couple bicycles now and again. As a father of two younger boys (5,8) who loved going there and "skating", it is missed. All of the kids there were always respectful, and helpful and accomodating of my boys. It was a great place to go and they miss it. I wish they would atleast furnish some type of plan to bring it back or show us that some progress is being made.
Jerry Grady March 07, 2012 at 03:54 PM
In the country.
Denise Fisk-Baj March 07, 2012 at 05:03 PM
JB I'm waiting for papers from city hall about the skatepark and was going to attend this weeks counsel meeting.....to bring this up .....can you attend and if so can you bring any other people that are pissed off like me about this whole tear down?? I also thought most of the older kids were so helpful to my son also and I never saw drugs there....I have been given every excuse as to why the skatepark was torn down --even that it was in bad disrepair....which is total BS in my eyes....excuses and not the truth as far as I'm concerned...there were a lot of people that fought hard to get this skatepark and it seems like there is no documentation as to why they tore it down......too shady for me!!! contact me via FB or by email sydney711@comcast.net
Frank Worrell March 07, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The annex was an eyesore. With the new bridge hopefully more people will use downtown. Bathrooms were sorely needed.As to the skate park I am sure it will get rebuilt but the annex and park are two different issues.
Bob March 07, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Jerry, It's a big country and the cost of living is different everywhere. The average property in Ocean City is almost double the country's average. If you're a property owner, you could easily sell and move somewhere cheaper. For those that want to live here, they should acknowledge that they pay less for more services than someone with property worth half as much offshore.
Matthew March 08, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Who got the demo/re-construction contracts?
Surfsup March 08, 2012 at 02:09 PM
The same guy that helped get the Mayor elected!!
JB March 08, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I wont be able to attend this weeks, but am following up with an email to the Mayor and Council.
NLC March 08, 2012 at 04:31 PM
That's right! It WAS an old gas station.....AND THE TANKS ARE STILL IN THE GROUND!!! And if anyone had LOOKED at the building they would have seen all the CRACKS in the walls all around. So it will get new bathrooms and be reconfigured for a fresher look!
ZekeZeke March 08, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I thought it was hilarious that the residents and business owners in the area got a letter from Earthtech stating that the general contractor was Halliday/Leonard one week, then the next letter that went out listed the City of O.C.. Guess that got some backlash about the contract going to a political ally and decided to change the name hoping people wouldn't notice. I agree this needed to be torn down, but how can you tear it down before you have the vote at Council approving the plans? Guess now its a way of bullying those on Council who may have been on teh fence into having to vote for it now or have an empty lot there all summer. Love this town!
Silver Mariposa March 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Who is the bonehead that approved the demolition of the existing structure before plans were approved and permitted for the new building? Also, the nice planters and benches at the corner could have remained and spruced up to create a pleasant welcome into downtown - at least till the time of construction. Where is the strategic plan for downtown improvements?


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