First Ward Meeting Hits on Array of Topics

first_imgCity Council Vice President Michael DeVlieger discusses some of the city projects with audience members during the First Ward meeting. By MADDY VITALEDrainage projects, dune fencing and bicycle safety were the primary topics during a First Ward meeting hosted by City Council Vice President Michael DeVlieger on Saturday.DeVlieger, along with Michael Allegretto, the aide to the mayor, started the noon meeting off with a presentation on $4.4 million in north end paving projects that have been completed or are in the process of being done.They also outlined work to install ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) ramps for beach and Boardwalk access in certain areas where they were needed.The First Ward, which DeVlieger represents, encompasses the area from the Longport Bridge to the north side of 4th Street.Maps were displayed on easels at the front of the meeting room in the Howard Stainton Senior Center inside the Ocean City Community Center at 1735 Simpson Avenue.The maps highlighted paving work from First through Fifth Streets, the west and east sides of Gardens Parkway and the ADA ramp work at Surf Road.Audience members are separated for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.While no formal action is taken at the ward meetings, DeVlieger took notes, residents’ contact information and emphasized that he would look into concerns, speak with other city officials about questions they had pertaining to projects and would get back to them.John Ahern, a resident on Central Avenue, said he had concerns because the streets were raised in his area and flooding continued there.“The city has put so much work into infrastructure. I applaud the experts,” Ahern noted.However, he said, flooding near his house is worse than before because the streets were raised too much.DeVlieger said that he would find out who the engineer was for the specific work.Ahern added that city officials said they would go over to his residence and see what could be done to ameliorate the problem.Jerry and Merry Whelan, of Second Street, said they have concerns about flooding near their home because they have tenants and at times, they have had damage to their property, trash floating in the street and even a car was damaged by flooding.The Whelans said they believed it had to do with outfall pipes.“We appreciate the efforts, but it has to be fixed,” Jerry Whelan said.DeVlieger explained that Mayor Jay Gillian is aware of the challenges related to the outfall pipes on Second Street and he is taking steps to address them.Allegretto said there are manual pumps at the area of Second Street and Seaspray Road. He echoed DeVlieger’s sentiments and said that the mayor is aware of the problems.“They are on his radar,” he noted.City official Michael Allegretto explains some of the north end projects.While some of the residents said that flooding is an issue, they also said they were satisfied that the city is doing all it can to lessen and fix the flood issues.DeVlieger described the drainage issues and the steps implemented since the mayor took office in 2010.“The efforts we are making are long overdue,” he stressed. “There are roads that haven’t been paved in decades. This is the time to do the work and do it the best way possible. Mayor Gillian has been passionate about it.”In other matters, north end resident Donna DeRocher brought up how wonderful the beaches look since the beach replenishment project wrapped up last month.“Since the beach replenishment project, is there any chance we could get snow fencing to protect the dunes?” DeRocher asked. “Snow fencing is so inexpensive.”DeVlieger said he would report that back to city officials for consideration.Bike safety also came up during the meeting. One resident noted that cyclists should, by law, have a light on when traveling at night.DeVlieger mentioned that Bike OCNJ, a bicycle safety group headed by resident Drew Fasy and local businessman Tom Heist of Heist Insurance Agency, have provided bike literature for the Ocean City Welcome Center and realtors to give out to vacationers so that they are aware of safety rules.In addition, he said that the organization made efforts to educate the public about the importance of bicycle safety.“They were to schools and gave kids lights for the front and back of their bikes,” DeVlieger said. “We are a bike safety community.”last_img

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