Ocean City Today

OCDC annual awards event honors resort past, present

By Greg Ellison | May 10, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison Jodi and Dennis Renner accept a plaque in memory of her uncle, Bob Givarz, “the mayor of Ninth Street,” and longtime Alaska Stand proprietor who died last July, from Ocean City Development Corporation President Chris Trimper, during the groups annual award ceremony last Wednesday at Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, Fourth Street and the Boardwalk.

(May 11, 2018) Resort movers and shakers converged for the Ocean City Development Corporation’s 18th annual meeting and awards ceremony last Wednesday at Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, Fourth Street and the Boardwalk.

Chris Trimper, OCDC president, opened the presentation by noting that the organization continues to focus on the end game, even after almost two decades of existence.

“In these 18 years, many things have changed, but our focus has remained the same: revitalizing downtown Ocean City,” he said.

Joined on stage by his wife, Michelle, just days away from delivering the couple’s third child, Trimper said another crucial aspect to the nonprofit’s mission is forming lasting connections between neighbors and the city.

“It’s about melding community and family,” he said.

Trimper also offered accolades for Executive Director Glenn Irwin’s dedication to revitalizing downtown.

“Glenn Irwin works hard to make Ocean City a better place,” he said.

Among the initiatives spearheaded by Irwin, the façade improvement program has resulted in more than $6 million of private investment, Trimper said.

“Since we started in 2002, there have been 200 buildings and businesses that have exterior renovations,” he said.

Three awards were given for façade improvements: Dylan Jones at 15 St. Louis Ave., R.G. Roeder Jr. Family at 601 Baltimore Ave., and Spiro Buas at 7-9 Baltimore Ave.

Two winners were selected from the Business Assistance Project program, which matches funds for interior and operations upgrades.

“In the past year, we had four projects,” he said. “We currently have three projects with a leverage ratio of 12.9-to-1.”

The winners this year were South Pole Ice Cream Roll at 10 North Division St. and Ocean 13 on the Boardwalk at 13th Street.

Taking home the New Construction award was St. Paul’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church at 302 Baltimore Ave.

Tom Shuster, church construction team project manager, said the project, which was designed by the Becker Morgan Group and built by contractor Gillis Gilkerson, represents a major push forward for the parish and larger community.

“It’s with this community support that we were able to sustain ourselves through a major setback for our parish,” he said.

Bill Neville, Ocean City director of planning and community development, received an individual award for past and present assistance with an array of redevelopment projects.

The Downtown Special Event award was bestowed upon the Children’s Day on the Bay Festival organized by the Ocean City Life-Saving Museum Society.

The Organizational Award was given to T.C. Studios, 1505 Philadelphia Ave., for beautifying numerous utility boxes with colorful art.

The evening took an emotional turn when a special plaque was awarded to honor the memory of Bob Givarz, whose family opened the Alaska Stand on the Boardwalk at Ninth Street in 1933.

Choking back tears, Givarz’s niece, Jodi Renner, shared heartfelt memories of a man commonly known as the “mayor of Ninth Street,” who died last July at age 66.

“Bob will always be remembered for his many stories and the people he recalled growing up on the Boardwalk,” she said. “Bob loved Ocean City as much as Ocean City loved him.”

In addition to being a board member since 2003, Givarz was also the OCDC president from 2012-2015.

Also honored were a pair of departing members of the OCDC Board of Directors: Charlie Barrett who joined in 2004 and Chris Trimper, who joined the board in 2009 and had served as president since 2015.

To close the night, Reid Tingle, OCDC nominating committee chair, introduced returning members Igor Conev, Buddy Dykes and Bill Seig, as well as new members, Patrick McLaughlin, Bob Torrey and Nick Teknen.

Looking forward, Trimper said OCDC would sponsor the Shorecraft beer fest on Oct. 27 at Sunset Park. Last year, the event drew 1,200 people, double the 600 who attended the inaugural event in 2015.

Trimper also said OCDC would sponsor nine Sunset Park Party Nights on Thursday evenings this summer.

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