Ocean City Today

OCDC boosts grant program funding limit by 50 percent

Maximum amount raised to $7,500 for façade updates and business improvement
By Greg Ellison | Jan 18, 2018
Courtesy of: Glenn Irwin Fat Daddy’s, 216 South Baltimore Ave., received financial support for a mixed-use project through OCDC’s Strategic Demolition Program, which receives funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

(Jan. 19, 2018) The Ocean City Development Corporation, which has provided grant assistance for downtown building improvements for more than 15 years, recently increased funding amounts by 50 percent for a maximum reimbursement of $7,500.

Executive Director Glenn Irwin said funding is currently available as part OCDC’s Façade Improvement, Green Building, and Business Assistance initiatives.

“These programs have really helped to improve the appearance of downtown, and are at the heart of our mission to revitalize downtown Ocean City … one building at a time,” he said. “We actually kicked a little more money into each project. It’s been capped at $5,000 and we increased it to $7,500.”

In the past, OCDC restricted grantees to one-time assistance, which Irwin said was also recently revised.

“If you’ve received assistance from us over 10 years ago, you can reapply,” he said. “As long as it’s for a different improvement.”

OCDC must approve projects seeking grants, which can cover one third of improvement costs for up to $7,500, Irwin said.

“The application process is simple, and the programs are easy to work with,” he said. “The building must be at least 25 years old and cannot be a condominium with more than six units.”

The funding is available for commercial and residential properties within OCDC’s designated area, generally south of 17th Street, as well as Boardwalk locations up to 15th Street, Irwin said.

Eligible property owners can apply for: the Façade Improvement Program, which provides funds for exterior improvements, such as siding and porches; the Green Building Initiatives Program, which assists with projects such as new Energy Star rated windows and doors; and the Business Assistance Program which selects new and expanding businesses for fixed interior improvements.

“Currently, we have eight facade projects underway, eight Green Building and two business assistance projects,” he said.

OCDC also is helping the India Emporium, 106 South Baltimore Ave., relocate while its present location undergoes renovations, Irwin said.

“They’re going to go right across the street,” he said. “They’ve been there for 40 years downtown and they have their own … niche … it’s not your typical clothing store.”

OCDC also secured a demolition grant for a redevelopment project at 16 Baltimore Avenue, with plans to construct a mixed-use four-story structure, including 1,000 square feet of first floor retail space and three floors of housing above.

In December the site plan for 16 Baltimore Avenue was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, with a building permit to be submitted soon, Irwin said.

Noting that applications are considered on a first come, first served basis, Irwin said the time to act is now.

“Get a jump-start on any planned improvements,” he said. “Spring is our busiest period for these programs and this funding generally goes very quickly.”

For more information, contact OCDC at 410-289-7739, or email glenn@ocdc.org.

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