Controversy on the Ocean City boardwalk

February 29, 2008 3:29:09 PM PST
Controversy surrounds the boardwalk rebuilding plan in Ocean City. Ocean City Public Works crews are rebuilding a section of boardwalk between 9th and 10th streets. They're hoping to have the job finished by Easter, which is traditionally a big weekend in the off season

"We're trying real hard to get everything closed up. A few people are concerned, but they see what's going on. They know we're going to be pretty close to on target," Jerry Fluke of Ocean City Public Works said.

The project has been a controversial one and being done in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Baltimore based Louis Grasnick Lumber Company.

It was under contract with Ocean City to deliver $1.2 million worth of hardwood for this job. City Council, however, cancelled it saying the wood wasn't being delivered on time and therefore the work couldn't be completed in time for the summer season.

Some say it was an excuse.

The lumber company believes the city backed out of the contract because it caved under pressure from environmental groups. The hardwood that had been ordered was from South American tropical rainforests

Ocean City is not commenting because of the litigation and plans a countersuit.

Meanwhile, businesses that are open want the work done in the next few weeks.

"We got a lot of people coming down for the holidays, especially Palm Sunday, and we hope everything will be finished by then," Nick Ballone of Mack and Manco Pizza said.

The workers are confident they'll get it done in a timely fashion and then tackle the other side of the 720 foot stretch of boardwalk next year.