A year and a half after Superstorm Sandy flooded the first floor of Ocean City’s historic City Hall, the City Clerk’s Office and the Tax Assessor’s Office are back home.
Storm damage to the building had displaced both offices. The Clerk’s Office operated out of a building adjacent to the Ocean City Fire Department at 550 Asbury Avenue, and the Tax Assessor’s Office moved to Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall.
With a $1.2 million reconstruction project near complete, both departments are back in their first-floor locations.
The move frees the third-floor chambers, and Thursday’s City Council meeting will return to City Hall for the first time since Sandy struck in October 2012.
The renovation project also includes the addition of public bathrooms to serve the downtown shopping district. The facilities are open daily during business hours. They were open during the Doo Dah Parade and will be open for the Spring Block Party. When improvements to restrict access to the rest of City Hall during off-hours are complete, a regular schedule of hours will be set.
The project also opens an area to serve as an information center and possible location for city press conferences.
The repair to City Hall was one of the last completed by the city in the wake of Sandy, and it helps fulfill a goal of Mayor Jay Gillian to make the facility more accessible and user-friendly.
The work by contractor Arthur J. Ogren, Inc. of Vineland includes installation of new flood gates at doorways to prevent future water infiltration and the elevation of all electrical sockets.
The Tax Assessor’s Office had moved to City Hall earlier this month, and the City Clerk’s Office moved in the middle of last week. Some work to replace windows still needs to be completed.