Home Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski
In simple terms, it is described as a “bathtub.” But this isn’t anything like the bathtub in your home. Instead of filling up with water, it will capture large amounts of muddy sediment in Snug Harbor, one of Ocean City’s most troublesome spots for muck and silt accumulating on the bottom of lagoons along the back bays. Also known as a “sediment trap,” the project will be part of the city’s 2020-2021 dredging program proposed by Mayor Jay Gillian when he presents his five-year capital plan to City Council in March.
Ocean City’s public housing agency wants to make sure that local residents and companies share in the economic benefits created by a nearly $7 million housing project scheduled to get underway in April. By a 6-0 vote, the Ocean City Housing Authority board members approved an “action plan” Tuesday that gives preference to local residents and companies for jobs and contracts for the proposed 32-unit Speitel Commons housing complex. Five years in the planning phase, the project will provide affordable housing for senior citizens who are now living in a flood-prone area of town in the authority’s Pecks Beach Village development on Fourth Street.
His name is Spalding, he’s around 3 feet long, weighs 18 ounces and is about 25 years old. He slithers and flicks out his tongue a lot. Oh, he’s friendly, too. “He’s really nice,” Nikki Freyer said of Spalding as Harper Boyle, 4, and her 3-year-old sister, Marlowe, looked quizzically at the snake, a ball python. Although curious, the two little girls didn’t seem the least bit scared while watching the snake. In fact, they wanted to pet the python while it wrapped itself around a piece of wood. “He’s ticklish,” Marlowe said with a giggle. Spalding, one of the denizens of the Cape May County Zoo, was arguably the star attraction Saturday during the Family-Friendly Nature and the Environment Fun-Day event at Ocean City’s Howard S. Stainton Senior Center.
City Council interviewed four prospective candidates Thursday night to fill a vacancy on the seven-member governing body, but fell short of the number of votes needed to appoint someone to the position. The vacancy was created when former Second Ward Councilman Antwan McClellan resigned in January to take a seat in the state Assembly following his election to the New Jersey Legislature in November.
City Council may fill a vacancy on the seven-member governing body that was created by the election of Antwan McClellan to the state Assembly by appointing someone to temporarily represent the Second Ward. Or maybe not. Council has the option of filling the seat or simply leaving it open for the remainder of McClellan’s unexpired term to July 1. Candidates seeking the seat will be interviewed in closed session prior to Council’s Feb. 13 meeting. Council will then decide whether to vote to appoint someone when it convenes in open session or leave the seat vacant, Council President Peter Madden said.
City Council introduced three bond ordinances Thursday night totaling nearly $12 million to purchase three adjacent pieces of property that would be combined to create a large swath of open space protected from development. Altogether, the land encompasses a full block bordered by 16th and 17th streets between Simpson and Haven avenues next to the Ocean City Community Center. One of the parcels formerly served as the site of a car dealership and is now proposed for a housing project. For more than a year, Mayor Jay Gillian and Council have been hoping to buy the land to prevent it from being used for densely packed housing construction that would add to the city’s overdevelopment.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held April 4 for a long-awaited project named in honor of an Ocean City Housing Authority commissioner who was an advocate for affordable housing for senior citizens. Five years in the planning phase, the 32-unit Speitel Commons project will provide housing for senior citizens who are now living in a flood-prone area of town in the authority’s Pecks Beach Village development. A $6.9 million construction contract has been awarded. The project will be constructed on what is now a parking lot adjacent to the housing authority’s Bayview Manor complex at Sixth Street and West Avenue. The new building will be named in memory of the late Edmond C. Speitel Sr., a housing authority commissioner. Speitel, who was chairman of the authority’s finance and redevelopment committees, helped to oversee the new project from the conceptual phase.
Suggesting that both sides are closer to reaching a deal, the city is expected to introduce a funding package this month to buy a coveted piece of land to protect it from housing construction. For more than a year, the city has been attempting to acquire the former car dealership property from the private owners to preserve it as open space instead of seeing it turned into a housing project that would add to the town’s overdevelopment.
Councilman Antwan McClellan promised he wouldn’t cry. Moments later, his voice choked up with emotion and the tears began to roll down his cheeks. “I was not going to cry, but I blew it,” he joked. He was not alone. During an emotional meeting, members of City Council tearfully said farewell Thursday night to McClellan as he prepares to leave the governing body to take a seat next week in the state Assembly.
The Ocean City Community Center, a multifaceted municipal complex that serves hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, is getting a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system that will cost nearly $800,000. “The existing HVAC system reached the end of its useful life. This is a routine replacement of aging equipment,” city spokesman Doug Bergen said in an email Friday. City Council has awarded a $769,600 contract to Falasca Mechanical Inc. of Vineland for the project. Work is expected to be completed by the summer, Bergen said.