March 17, 2017
I’m proud to announce that the Ocean City Aquatic and Fitness Center will host a regional Special Olympics swimming competition at 10 a.m. Sunday. The annual meet is one of my favorite events of the year. It brings together community volunteers, city representatives, members of the local firefighters’ union and athletes who always remain true to the Special Olympics motto: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
If you’ve never attended the meet, I encourage you to come out and cheer for the competitors. The meet is expected to last about two hours, and the Aquatic and Fitness Center is part of the Community Center at 1735 Simpson Avenue.
The city still awaits a judge’s decision to clear the way for long-awaited work to begin on the drainage project between 26th Street and 34th Street. The city is required by law to award the contract for the job to the lowest qualified bidder. That’s what we did, and the judge is considering an unsuccessful bidder’s challenge to the process. A decision is expected early next week. The net effect of the action is a delay of the start of the project by a few weeks. For people like me who are accustomed to doing business in the private sector, the obstacles to public projects are extremely frustrating. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as mayor, it’s that nothing is quick or easy. I can assure you that representatives of the city argued strongly for a fast resolution to this legal matter to keep the project on track.
I’m confident that Michael Baker International has delivered an effective design and that the contractor will do quality work in executing it. With the project starting in late March, work is now expected to continue into the summer. I hope neighbors agree the end result will be well worth the few months of inconvenience.
On Thursday (March 23), City Council will vote to seek bids on the final stage of boardwalk reconstruction: from 10th Street to 12th Street. What was originally planned as a seven-year project to completely rebuild the boardwalk’s substructure and decking from Fifth Street to 12th Street will be complete in five years. The fast track not only saves money for taxpayers and limits the impact on boardwalk merchants, but it restores full year-round access to the countless number of Ocean City residents and guests who enjoy the boardwalk.
At this time next year, the winter detours will no longer be necessary. The city’s most valuable and iconic resource will be safe and strong for years to come. Work on the final phase will begin immediately after Columbus Day. A contractor this year completed a similar two-block stretch by President’s Day Weekend.
Jay A. Gillian Mayor