Ocean City Today

Ayres Creek kayak launch gets five-year deal

By Greg Ellison | Jan 05, 2018

(Jan. 5, 2018) The Ayers Creek Kayak Launch on the 36.7-acre site of the old Lewis Road Landfill will continue operating for at least another five years after a memo of understanding with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program was extended at the Ocean City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Public Works Director Hal Adkins said the extension would permit Coastal Bays, which has overseen the launch area since it opened in August 2012, to continue through December 2022.

“It is not a commercial operation,” he said. “They don’t generate any money off of it and it is open to the public for free.”

Beginning in 1954, the location served as a municipal dump, and from 1980-1989 hosted a shooting range for area law enforcement agencies. After this, Adkins and then public works employee Dick Malone began a long-term project to meet Maryland Department of the Environment guidelines for future use.

“Dick and I spent nearly 20 years doing remediation efforts on that property [and then] we finally received a letter from MDE that no further remedial action was necessary,” he said.

With the state regulatory challenges overcome, the kayak launch project was undertaken based on a suggestion by area naturalist Spencer Rowe.

After several years, local and state agencies, with volunteer assistance, completed work to install a gated parking area and a trail system to provide the previously unavailable public water access in the upper region of Ayers Creek.

The city signed an initial two-year MOU with the Coastal Bays Program in September 2010, with a subsequent five-year extension inked in November 2012.

Councilman Wayne Hartman asked Adkins if future development of the site was limited due to its prior landfill usage.

“It’s future is extremely passive,” Adkins said. “You won’t be building any buildings out there [and] you won’t be drilling any wells into the ground.”

Hartman also questioned a stipulation in the MOU that requires the city to mow grass around the entrance area at an annual cost of approximately $3,000.

Although yet to be approved, Adkins said an upcoming project at the Ocean City Municipal Airport would eliminate the task.

“There are roughly 2.61 acres of the site that we are proposing as a mitigation site for tree planting [so] that cost would go away,” he said.

While offering a second to Hartman’s motion to extend the MOU and remove the grass cutting stipulation, Councilman Matt James continued the anti-landscaping bent.

“I don’t agree with some of the grass we cut in town,” he said. “I definitely don’t think we should be cutting grass out of town.”

Councilman Tony DeLuca, who serves on the Coastal Bays Program board, abstained from voting.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.