(Jan. 10, 2020) Demolition of the second World Gym building on 67th Street marks the completion of a three-piece land puzzle, as Ocean City government prepares the area for a new water treatment facility.
“The Town of Ocean City, over the last three to five years, started assembling properties on the bayside between 66th and 67th Street,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said. “… The gym is just part of this overall puzzle of land acquisition.”
The city began the puzzle by purchasing the Ocean City VFW Post 8296 building in October 2017 for $795,000 using the city’s water fund.
The building was demolished in December that year.
Next in line was the first phase of the 67th Street gym, which the city acquired from Wells Fargo Bank for $1.2 million in 2018.
Absolute Demolition of Ocean City tore down the large steel building adjacent to the main gym in May 2019.
Following the gym purchase, the city set its sights on the Sandpiper Energy facility located on 67th Street in August
The City Council first voted on the $1.1 million purchase on Aug. 13, 2019, during a closed session, and the purchase was finalized during a Sept. 3 council meeting.
The purchase will be funded through a bond issuance approved Monday, Jan. 6.
The 66th and 67th Street land parcel is ideal because of its central location, Adkins said in a previous interview, and it would decrease water age during off-season operations, as well as keep it near the main public works facility on 65th Street.
The facility will replace the current water treatment plant on 44th Street, which Adkins said had outlived its usefulness and lacks the land needed to enhance it.
Additionally, the 44th Street facility is landlocked, making it less than ideal for desalination additions, which has become increasingly relevant as fresh water sources become more scarce.
While demolition of the final gym building has begun, construction of the treatment plant will likely not begin until fall 2023 or spring 2024.
“If we stay on our timeline, sometime probably about four years from now we will be under construction,” Adkins said.
In the meantime, Adkins said public works is looking into ways to use the property during the summer, whether that means installing temporary parking meters to generate revenue for the water department, or perhaps as an impound lot for towed vehicles among other options.