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Councilman Mark Paddack, City Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer and Mayor Rick Meehan pose together with the Sustainable Maryland Certified Award, which honors the city for its sustainability practices. 

(Oct. 25, 2019) Two times the charm, at least it is for the Town of Ocean City, as it celebrates receiving the Sustainable Maryland Certified Award once again for its efforts in implementing environmentally responsible living practices. 

“I thought it was quite an honor … to be recognized for our efforts,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “It’s a community effort, through the Green Team, Gail Blazer and her department, [and] we’re taking positive steps forward to resolve and address some of the problems that we face with regard to maintaining our standing as a sustainable community.” 

Meehan, alongside City Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer and Councilman Mark Paddack, received the award during a ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League’s annual fall conference in Cambridge, Maryland on Oct. 15. 

To achieve certification, municipalities are required to form a Green Team drawn from the public, community leaders, municipal staff and officials. 

In addition to forming a Green Team, communities must satisfy a number of requirements, from climate change planning to conducting energy audits.

“You only need 150 points, and we had 380 points,” Blazer said. “We really tried to take credit for all of the things we do.” 

Some of the projects recognized by Sustainable Maryland include the Cigarette Butt Huts, which were strategically placed cigarette butt receptacles intended to reduce cigarette pollution. 

Another project highlighted was the Ocean City Surfrider Foundation’s Strawless Summer initiative in 2018, which focused on reducing plastic straw use through a pledge system. 

Blazer also stressed that the award had been a collective effort

“It’s just very nice to have the group that we have. With the chamber (Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce), the HMRA (Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association)  Coastal Bays (Program), Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT), Ocean City Surfriders — all of the advocacy groups — those guys are all partners in our program. Everything they do adds up, it’s a cumulative act.”

Members of the Ocean City Green Team are Councilman Tony DeLuca, Blazer, Sandi Smith of Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Effie Cox of the Ocean City Surf Club, Jane Robinson of Ocean City Surfriders Foundation, Public Works Director Hal Adkins, Planning and Zoning Director Bill Neville, Bill Weiland of Assateague Coastal Trust, Executive Director of the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Susan Jones, Ocean City Chamber of Commerce President Melanie Pursel, Travis Brown of the Worcester County Health Department, restaurant owner Ryan James and Pat McLaughlin of the Ocean City Development Corporation. 

“I’m really proud of the work of the Green Team,” DeLuca said. “[It] really focused in and put in that work, and that’s why the town received the award.”

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