(Feb. 7, 2020) Ocean City is saying farewell to its Whiteside lot Public Works facility, as workers demolish the former public transit storage hub and convert it into temporary municipal parking.
The facility, located at South First Street, has been with the resort for nearly six decades.
“In September of 1964, Harold and Mildred Whiteside were the property owners, and sold it to the Mayor and City Council for our use in the Public Works Department,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said.
The lot was designated as Whiteside lot, in honor of its previous owners.
Since the beginning, the space has been used as a parking lot for beach cleaners, street sweepers and other equipment.
“It wasn’t until the mid ’70s, if I recall, around 1974-75, a pre-engineered metal building was built on the property, and then later in the ’70s that building was expanded by adding two additional auto bays on the south end,” Adkins said.
Roughly two or three years ago, however, the City Council desired to see the public works facility relocated.
“That site is somewhat a gateway into the downtown inlet area,” Adkins said. “It was questionable of having a public works, or an industrial type operation, going on right there.”
This was fine for Adkins and his department, as the facility had greatly deteriorated.
“Personally speaking we were at a crossroads,” Adkins said. “…The building itself had been band aided together. When we tore it down, we proved to ourselves it had little to no life expectancy left into it, because it nearly collapsed when they grabbed it with the excavator to start knocking it down, it basically fell over. Not to sensationalize it, but it would have been questionable whether that would have survived a hurricane or a major storm.”
In 2017, the council purchased land at St. Louis Avenue for $2 million, which was used to house the new facility.
City leaders and Adkins unveiled the new facility on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, and immediately put it to use.
As of right now, there are no solid plans for the Whiteside lot, and it will be used as additional paid municipal parking.
With roughly 63 parking spots, the lot will follow the new parking rates at $3 per hour in season, and $2 per hours on weekends in April, May and October.
Adkins said with good weather conditions the lot should be ready for public use by April 1.