Ocean City Today

City finalizes VFW purchase, demolition set for December

By Katie Tabeling | Oct 19, 2017
Photo by: Katie Tabeling Ocean City plans to demolish the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8296 on 66th Street in December to eventually make way for a new water treatment plant.

(Oct. 20, 2017) The property where the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8296 once sat now belongs to the Town of Ocean City, following the City Council’s vote Monday to buy the parcel for $795,000.

The price Ocean City paid reportedly was the median between two appraisals, one for $740,000 and at $850,000. The purchase was made with cash from the water fund.

The post on 66th Street closed in June, after decades of serving military veterans in Ocean City. Former Post Commander Bob Shiffner said active membership had dwindled in the last six years, leading to the organization to close its doors.

“We had money in the bank, but there was no one to keep it alive,” Shiffner said. “The VFW started with World War II and Korean vets, and fellas started dying off or weren’t physically able to step up.”

The Ocean City VFW needed about 12 members to take leadership roles, including quartermaster. The national and regional branches made several recruitment attempts throughout the year, but when all proved unfruitful, the state revoked the Ocean City post’s charter.

A core of active members attempted to raise visibility last year, by setting up a table during Springfest and Sunfest and participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“I do want to thank the small group of people that gave it their all,” Shiffner said. “The town was very forthcoming with support, but there comes a time when you have to move on. It was a great post, but we needed people to sustain it.”

After the paperwork on the purchase has been signed, Public Works Hal Adkins plans to demolish the structure in December to make way for a new water treatment plant. Construction for the plant is years down the road.

In the meantime, the Worcester County Juvenile Justice Department and Beach Patrol’s midtown headquarters, which operate out of trailers, will be moved to the 66th street lot.

Adkins said that both facilities will need to relocate there because the space they now occupy will be used for an interim vehicle impound lot when construction of the Public Works Campus begins.

“A new trailer will be bought [for Juvenile Services] in April, and will be placed next to the [Beach Patrol] trailer on the lot. Both will be hooked to the same water and sewer services, and both require minimum parking,” Adkins said. “All will fit rather well.”

Once the Public Works Campus is complete, juvenile services and Beach Patrol will be moved into one of the buildings on 65th Street.

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