By MADDY VITALE
When the trees along the 34th Street entryway into Ocean City shine with classic holiday lights, people agree it leaves a good impression.
But when the lights burn out or are off in spots, the feeling while traveling into the city’s south end could be a bit lackluster.
That is where City Councilman Bob Barr and residents in the Fourth Ward come in. Since taking office in 2016, Barr has worked with his constituents to ask for, and get, aesthetic improvements in the area that runs from the foot of the 34th Street bridge to West Avenue. The main one being year-round lights.
The problem, however, is the infrastructure cannot sustain the lights year-round.
“Sometimes the lights go out or just don’t operate. A new permanent infrastructure will allow the lights to be on year-round and the lights will be nicer, brighter, and energy efficient,” Barr said in a phone interview Saturday.
City Council passed a resolution at Thursday’s meeting to go out to bid for the installation of electrical infrastructure to create the right system to keep the white lights on.
Barr said he hopes the bidding process moves swiftly.
“We have to see when we get the bids back. I’m hoping it moves as quickly as possible,” he said. “Everything will stay the same but nicer, brighter, permanent lights will replace the ones there now.”
The LED lights will be illuminated year-round and will enhance the entryway, Barr pointed out.
Mayor Jay Gillian addressed the issue in his weekly message posted Friday on the city’s website.
“Council also approved a resolution to seek bids on bringing permanent electrical infrastructure to Roosevelt Boulevard at the 34th Street gateway to Ocean City,” Gillian said. “That will create reliable electrical service for the lights in the trees along the roadway. This started as a holiday display, but the decorations were popular enough the residents and guests have asked that they be lit year-round.”
But the lights are only the first step in a long list of proposed upgrades to dramatically improve the area that visitors see first when they make their way over the 34th Street bridge into the south end of the city.
Barr remarked about some of the items in the grass median strip lining the roadway.
“We would like to see the clutter cleared up,” he said. “There are different signs for different things up there. The county puts out signs and there are other signs. I thought signs should be put up in a more thoughtful way. It is sort of haphazard right now.”