Cleanup of Site Planned as Open Space Begins in Ocean City

Cleanup of Site Planned as Open Space Begins in Ocean City

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Workers will remove contaminated soil and replace it with clean fill.

By MADDY VITALE

An expansive piece of land that is part of Ocean City’s plan to create a corridor of open space near the Community Center is temporarily being used for a parking lot.

The city is allowing people to use it for overflow parking. But in addition to cars, there are trailers, trucks and even a couple of small boats on the lot.

“We have allowed people to use the area for parking in the short term,” explained Michael Allegretto, aide to Mayor Jay Gillian.

While Allegretto pointed out that there are currently no rules on what could be put on the lot, he said the city is making sure that people are law-abiding.

“Certainly, the city is monitoring who is coming and going and who is parking there and that they are law-abiding,” he said.

There are piles of dirt and gravel at the site to put down clean fill in place of contaminated soil.

A large sign displayed at the property details the remediation in progress because of contamination suspected to be from the former dry-cleaning business that was once on the property.

Currently boats and trailers are temporarily housed on the lot.

A cleanup is necessary before any recreational or open space use will be allowed, officials explained.

Mayor Gillian plans a Town Hall meeting to gather ideas from the community.

“Now that the cleanup of the area has begun, we plan to schedule a meeting for public input,” Allegretto said. “We are looking at mid-fall for the meeting to look at the long-term plan for public recreation and open space for the residents.”

The properties are the former Perry-Egan car lot that was owned by the Klause brothers, and two sites at 109 16th Street and 1600 Haven Avenue from Palmer Center LLC, that were owned by real estate developer and former City Councilman John Flood.

The city bonded for the properties in March for a combined cost of $17 million. The city fought for over two years to purchase the privately-owned land that the car dealership was on with the focus on protecting it from a proposed housing development.

With the acquisition of the Palmer Center and Klause properties, the overall plan is to dedicate a five-block area from 15th Street to 20th Street for open space and public use.

The public land corridor, when the plan is completed, will extend from Emil Palmer Park to the Ocean City Community Center and to the Ocean City Intermediate School.

The huge lot is adjacent to the Community Center.