Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Ocean City Unveils Flooding, Dredging Plans

Ocean City intends to combine some old strategies, some new tricks and some serious money to try to tame two of the greatest problems on the barrier island: persistent flooding and sediment-choked lagoons. City officials pledged Saturday to spend millions of dollars in coming years on an ambitious flood-mitigation program as well as a series of dredging projects to clear out the shallow lagoons that have become virtual mudflats in some places. “The whole idea is quality of life,” Mayor Jay Gillian said. “We’re going to look at everything we can.” Gillian spoke during back-to-back town hall meetings that focused on the city’s flood-control efforts and a five-year, $20 million dredging program that is methodically removing huge amounts of sediment from lagoons and channels along the bayfront.

Some Sleek (and Expensive) Porsches Roll Into Town

Forget about investing in stocks, bonds or even gold coins. If you really want to make some serious money, perhaps you should follow Rogerio Santos’ strategy: Go out and buy an old Porsche and then let it accumulate in value over the years. There’s one caveat, though. Acquire the only Porsche of its kind in the entire world. Santos says he has such a car, a 1952 Porsche 356 1500 Super prototype. He believes it's worth in the millions. His tiny black sports car was drawing some admiring looks Saturday from legions of car buffs during a display of vintage and contemporary Porsches lining the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Ocean City is Banking on a New Development Project

The chain-link construction fence surrounding two empty buildings at the corner of Ninth Street and West Avenue is a not-too-subtle sign that the property is about to undergo a dramatic transformation. Once the old buildings are demolished, the high-profile intersection that serves as the gateway to Ocean City’s downtown business district will become the home of a new Republic Bank, officials say.

34th Street to Shine With Decorative Lights

Just in time for the holidays, Ocean City’s second-busiest gateway is expected to sparkle with brand new decorative lights that will brighten up an area of town in need of a makeover. City Council on Thursday night approved a long-awaited contract for the electrical system for what will become a permanent display of white lights greeting visitors and residents as they drive over the 34th Street Bridge and make their way along Roosevelt Boulevard. Fourth Ward Councilman Bob Barr, who represents the south end of town, has made the decorative lights one of his top priorities since entering office in 2016. He noted that the permanent decorations will replace the current patchwork of lights that hang haphazardly from poles and don’t always work.

Housing Project Approved for Site Coveted by Ocean City

The Ocean City Planning Board granted final approval Wednesday night for a housing project proposed on a large tract of land that the city has been trying to acquire for the past year to preserve as open space. Brothers Harry and Jerry Klause of Klause Enterprises plan to develop 21 single-family homes on nearly an entire block bordered by Simpson and Haven avenues between 16th and 17th streets. The property was formerly occupied by a now-closed Chevrolet dealership. The Klauses sat quietly in the back row of the room at City Hall while their representatives discussed the project with the planning board members. They declined to comment afterward, leaving their attorney, Avery Teitler, to speak for them about their plans. Teitler said the Klauses are serious about developing the project, but did not rule out the possibility of negotiating a deal for the property’s sale to the city.

City Council Awards Contracts for Dredging Projects

In the past three years, Ocean City has been spending millions of dollars to methodically clear out channels and lagoons clogged with mud and silt. The ambitious program will resume this fall following City Council’s approval Thursday night of two dredging contracts for a series of shallow lagoons along the back bays. City Business Administrator George Savastano said the dredging projects will boost the local economy by making Ocean City more attractive to boaters and by helping the bayfront marinas.

As Hurricane Season Continues, Ocean City Remains Ready

Names like Dorian and Humberto have been dominating the news in recent weeks – and with good reason. Dorian’s devastation in the Bahamas and parts of the Outer Banks in North Carolina and Humberto’s glancing blow to Bermuda show that hurricane season is far from over. Ocean City, pummeled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, along with the rest of the Jersey Shore, is not letting down its guard, the city's emergency management coordinator says.

Critical Vote Ahead for O.C. Housing Project

The Ocean City Housing Authority is entering a critical phase in its efforts to line up state and federal approvals for an expansion project that symbolizes the agency’s financial turnaround in the last two years. Known as Speitel Commons, the proposed 32-unit project will provide affordable housing for senior citizens currently living in the authority’s flood-plagued Pecks Beach Village complex on Fourth Street. Locking up the funding for the new project has been a challenging task, but the authority is expected to receive approval this month for a $4.5 million mortgage from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The funding is scheduled for a vote at the HMFA’s board meeting Sept. 26.

Landmark Impala Motel Continues to Thrive

From time to time, Christopher Glancey looks at the zip codes for the guests staying at the Impala Island Inn motel and will notice that they come from all over the United States. “You’ll see all 50 states,” said Glancey, the Impala’s co-owner. “As far as this motel goes, it has a terrific following of customers who come year after year. I talked to one gentleman who’s been coming here for 50 years.” But there’s more. There’s also an international following. At least one Impala guest was from New Zealand. The motel, a landmark at the corner of 10th Street and Ocean Avenue since the 1960s, continues to pack them in after all these years.

High-Altitude Thrills at Airport Festival

Billowing parachute canopies came closer and closer to the ground before the skydivers made a flawless landing on a grassy strip next to the airport runway amid cheers and applause from the spectators. The parachutists are part of the Fastrax professional skydiving team based in Middletown, Ohio. They were the highlight of the annual airport festival on Saturday, the first day of Ocean City’s Air Show Weekend. The Boardwalk Aerobatic Air Show will bring some of the best stunt pilots and aerobatic champions in the world for a spectacle over the beach and Boardwalk between Sixth Street and 14th Street beginning 1 p.m. Sunday.