Recreation complex to get facelift with new skatepark, tennis courts and shrubs 

A $3 million plan to revitalize the Downtown Recreation Complex on St. Louis Avenue between Third and Fourth streets is one step closer, after City Council members voted to enter into a contract with a Baltimore-based firm to complete the design of the park.

Landscape architectural firm Mahan & Rykiel Associates will roll out the new design in four phases, according to Town Engineer Terry McGean.

On Monday, McGean told council members the Mahan & Rykiel firm was hired to perform the master plan for the park, and the city was happy with how that turned out that this approval was more of an extension of the contract.

Council members agreed to authorize spending $3 million to revitalize the park back in January, which was a long time coming.

A vision study was conducted in 2016, followed by multiple community meetings, and the project gained momentum in 2019 when the Ocean City Development Corporation agreed to assist with funding the creation of a design concept.

Mahan & Rykiel will be paid $216,918 for its services.

McGean said the money covers everything except the design of the playground equipment — that’s generally done by the equipment supplier — and the internal setup of the skatepark. He added that design and building of the skatepark will be done with a skatepark specialist.

The project, McGean said, will be rolled out in multiple phases. The first phase, he said, will include installing the infrastructure in the west portion of the park. That would encompass things like grading the property and getting a field set up, adding walkways and erecting the fencing.

The playground will not be installed during the first phase, but the basketball courts will be relocated and the skatepark will be renovated.

Future phases will include installing a new playground to allow the city to close the playground on the east portion of the park, and building new tennis courts, a restroom, and a second playground on the southeast corner of the western portion of the park.

The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin construction in 2023.

“We have the cart before the horse,” McGean told council members. “We have to approve the contract ... then you guys approve the bond resolution to support it.”

Council members voted unanimously to approve the contract with Mahan and Rykiel, and to reimburse expenditures associated with the design in an amount not to exceed $225,000.

This story appeared in the print version of Ocean City Today on June 11, 2021.

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