On Tuesday, the city opened bids on a major roads and drainage project planned for the neighborhood between 26th Street and 34th Street. I’m happy to report that the totals (while slightly higher than estimated) fall within our budget. Pending City Council approval on Feb. 9, work will begin in the following weeks.
This will mark the long-awaited start of the biggest flood remediation project in Ocean City history. The project will bring relief to 24 blocks at a cost of more than $6.5 million. It’s the second major drainage project for Ocean City (after the completion of work at Merion Park). While the system will not be able to prevent all flooding in the low-elevation neighborhood, a new storm drain system and four pumping stations are expected to make a substantial difference in the quality of life for residents there.
I’m excited to see this work progress and to apply whatever lessons we learn to other neighborhood projects in the coming years.
On Thursday (Feb. 9), City Council will consider approving the five-year capital plan that we presented to the public on Jan. 24. One change I plan to recommend will be to move funding for a renovation and addition to our public safety building from 2017 to 2018. It’s a large project, and I want to educate the public and solicit full feedback on what’s planned, what options we’ve considered, and on the needs of the police department, municipal court, emergency dispatch operations and social services offices that work out of the building.
I’d like you all to join me in congratulating Mark Jamieson on his promotion to operations chief of the Ocean City Beach Patrol. Mark is an 18-year veteran of the patrol who has served as senior guard, training officer and most recently as senior lieutenant. I’m confident that Mark will maintain the OCBP’s impeccable record of safety, its service to the community, and its proud tradition of success in competition.
Mark is a graduate of Ocean City High School and Montclair State University and a teacher and coach at Egg Harbor Township High School. He succeeds Tom Mullineaux, who retired in November after 51 years on the patrol.
February is Black History Month, and I ask you all to take time out to remember the important contributions our black community has and continues to make in Ocean City. The Ocean City Free Public Library’s series of events continues 6 p.m. Feb. 17 with a film screening of “The Jackie Robinson Story.” It also includes a performance by the Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27. All programs are free and open to the public at the library (17th Street and Simpson Avenue).
Jay A. Gillian