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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Viola updates pending projects

By Greg Ellison

(April 28, 2022) Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola provided updates on amenity improvement projects and infrastructure maintenance during the board of directors’ meeting on April 20.

Starting with pickleball courts, Viola said expansion plans were approved by the board last month.

ATC Corporation (formerly American Tennis Courts) was selected to install new courts at the Racquet Sports Center for an estimated cost of $175,000.

“We have a signed contract and are working on a schedule,” he said.

Prior to contractors breaking ground, Viola said Public Works would complete site work by the end of this moth at a cost of roughly $40,000.

On a related note, Viola said two bids were received to repair cracks on the surface of the pickleball courts.

“Cracks on the courts have gotten bigger and they need to be addressed [for] safety … and … maintenance,” he said.

Viola said staff recommended also awarding the repair work to ACT.

Progress is continuing on the installation of a new kayak launch pier at Pintail Park.

Viola said the work should be completed by the fall of 2023, with costs estimated between $40,000-$50,000.

“Staff met with state [officials] on April 6 to review the proposed plans,” he said.

Viola said the meeting was to review permit details to assure the project complied with environmental standards.

“We do have a proposed site and … are working on getting permits,” he said.

Boat launches were also discussed in light of a pending proposal with OC Bay Hopper to provide water-taxi service between the Beach Club and Yacht Club.

“We are in discussions with them and have an agreement,” he said.

OC Bay Hopper currently stops for passengers in the resort at 118th Street, 48th Street and downtown by Dorchester Street. Other stops include the West Ocean City Harbor.

One-way passage would cost $15 and the roundtrip service price would be $25.

Viola said tentative plans would include adding stops on the bayside across from the Beach Club at 12:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Also drop-offs and pickups at the Yacht Club would be scheduled at 2:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

“Stops are no longer than 15 minutes to load and unload passengers,” he said.

Viola also reported on the schedule for installing T-docks at the Yacht Club.

“T-docks were pushed back slightly … due to material delays,” he said.

The T-dock installation should be completed by the end of June at an estimated cost of $65,000.

Viola, however, stressed that the water taxi service was  not dependent on the T-dock installation.

“Even if we don’t have these new T-docks, we have spots where this taxi will pull up,” he said.

Assistant Executive Secretary Linda Martin took the spotlight next to review bulkhead and dredging work.

Martin said the bulkhead upkeep scheduled for this year is nearly complete, and that the work includes Pintail Drive and Crab Cay Court.

“We’re doing the backfill and it should be done this week,” she said.

Looking ahead, Martin said bulkhead work scheduled for 2023 should begin this fall and will include North Pintail Drive and Pintail Park.

In terms of dredging, Martin said an application filed in 2020 with the Maryland Department of the Environment was recently returned.

“The Worcester County permit was applied for at the end of March,” she said.

Martin said if the county signs off by the end of this month, dredging would be conducted at 22 properties during July, but if paperwork delays occur, the work would be pushed back until the fall.

Martin also reported on the business of replacing aging mailbox structures.

Association officials inspected all 55 mailbox sites in Ocean Pines to ascertain the most pressing needs.

In total, 59 pedestals need replacing, she said, with 13 of them listed as high priority.

Eleven mailbox structures were judged to need attention, with three determined to be of top priority.

Also, 22 sites were identified as requiring stone work or new concrete, with four labeled high priority.

Initial steps include giving all sites a thorough cleaning.

To this point, 10 pedestals have been ordered with only a pair received so far.

Viola said pricing to add cover for mailbox sites is being sought, with costs expected to run between $30,000-$40,000.

“We also are trying to get estimates for the cost to build overhangs for [mailbox] sites,” he said.