Ocean City Today
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Governor visits beach replenishment project

Combined effort to bolster OC’s first line of defense against damaging storms
By Brian Gilliland | Nov 22, 2017
Photo by: Brian Gilliland Col. Edward Chamberlayne, commander of the Baltimore district of the Army Corps of Engineers, provides an overview of the ongoing beach nourishment project on the 94th Street beach in Ocean City Monday afternoon. Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. Jim Mathias, Del. Mary Beth Carozza and Mayor Rick Meehan were among the dignitaries in attendance.

(Nov. 24, 2017) Army Corps of Engineers representatives and elected officials on Monday praised the beach replenishment project for the estimated $900 million it has prevented in damages over the 23 years of its existence and the speed with which current work is progressing.

As of the Corps’ news conference Monday, completion is expected by the end of year.

Gov. Larry Hogan opened the ceremony.

“Ocean City is my home away from home. I’m happy to be back to protect the beautiful and iconic Ocean City beach,” he said.

The state’s tourism industry supports 1,000 businesses and 10,000 jobs, the governor said, and contributes $17 billion to the state’s economy.

“Ocean City is a huge part of Maryland’s tourism success. Ocean City is, and has been, the perfect family beach destination,” he said.

What people don’t realize, Hogan said, is the beach is part of a program to protect the coastline from storms, and to keep it for future generations.

“I want to ensure that Maryland and this beach remains open to the public and open for business,” he said.

Col. Edward Chamberlayne, Baltimore district commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, gave the details of the effort.

“This is a great news story, not a bad news story. We’re moving 900,000 cubic yards of sand, which is the equivalent to the Empire State Building filled with sand, or 275 Olympic sized swimming pools,” to protect the shoreline from storms like Superstorm Sandy, or the January 2016 nor’easter, he said.

Work is being performed not by the frequent visitor dredges Currituck or Murden, but by Liberty Island, provided by the Great Lakes Dock and Dredge Company headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Asked how the project has changed over the years, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said the effort is not the same size or scope as it was when the dunes and beach was first restored.

“I remember after Hurricane Gloria the ocean water is where we’re standing today,” he said, from the public walkway through the dunes on 94th Street.

State Sen. Jim Mathias, former mayor of the resort, responded by mentioning how the beach is the front line of defense for the residents and property owners of Ocean City.

“If we went to Washington today, I’m not sure we could get the same deal,” as when the project was first defined in 1994, Mathias said.

“The deal is half over,” he said, noting it was time for all of the participants to get back to the bargaining table. “The eight million who come here every year will know the beach will be here today and tomorrow. The investors entering into 10- and 20-year mortgages know it’s going to be here.”

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