Council President Bobby Barr, senior staff members and I met virtually this afternoon with U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew to learn more about a proposed wind energy farm in federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean about 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey.
The city team continues to do its due diligence by working with federal and state regulators, the wind energy company Ørsted, and other experts to get all the facts and determine our options.
I will continue to communicate with all local stakeholders as the process moves forward. The only piece of this proposed project Ocean City could control would be an easement from a coastal town to bring transmission lines to the mainland.
While Ørsted could take the transmission line elsewhere, this could be a major source of funding for improvement projects in the city.
I want to encourage you all to watch our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, which will be made available for viewing on www.ocnj.us and OCTV-97 starting at 1 p.m. Monday (Jan. 18).
The event was pre-recorded this year, but as always, one of the highlights will be the recitation of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by the Rev. Gregory Johnson.
We also will recognize the volunteerism of three citizens with our Martin Luther King Community Services Awards. Kathy Thompson, Jennifer Bowman and Mike Morrissey have always given much of their time and energy to help others in our community, and each was especially important in this year when the pandemic changed our lives.
Monday’s presentation will include much more on each of these exemplary citizens.
It also will include the recognition of seventh-graders Joseph Heng and Gabrielle Henry and eighth-graders Danna Ramirez and Catie Brooks, who will read their winning essays on the legacy of Dr. King.
The video will remain available on-demand at www.ocnj.us and it will be rebroadcast on OCTV-97 at 9 p.m. Jan. 19, 7 p.m. Jan. 20, 12 p.m. Jan. 21 and 10 a.m. Jan. 23.
At the next meeting on Jan. 28, City Council will consider a proposal to begin flood mitigation efforts on West 17th Street.
The first steps will include studying the effects of groundwater on flooding with the use of piezometers and marking the elevations of all bulkheads.
This work will help the city remain on track to coordinate its flood relief efforts with a utility company project to replace sewer mains and add a pumping station.
We also have been able to address some of the issues raised by citizens at our flood mitigation town hall meeting. The standing water around 28th Street and Wesley Avenue was re-routed from an ineffective French drain into the main storm drainage system.
Perforated pipe on 22nd Street between West Avenue and Haven Avenue was replaced with a new solid underground pipeline, eliminating the constant water in the gutter.
A temporary pump was placed at 25th Street and Haven Avenue and has already proven effective in reducing the severity of flooding at that location.
Based on the success of that experiment, a permanent solution is being designed to move the water to the bay.
The county’s wastewater main replacement on Bay Avenue is nearing completion.
But one of the final phases will include detours of southbound traffic on Bay Avenue from Eighth Street to Ninth Street. Drivers leaving the island from the north end should plan to use West Avenue next week.
After the pipeline work is complete, the roadway will be temporarily restored, and final paving will take place in the spring.
COVID-19 vaccinations are now open to all 65-and-overs and people ages 16 to 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19.
Please visit www.ocnj.us/covid19 to learn more about how to register to receive the vaccine. Appointments remain limited, but more vaccine is expected to be delivered in the coming weeks, so it’s important to be registered.
I hope you all have a great weekend.
Mayor Jay A. Gillian