Our local hospital officials reported this week a small bump in the number of patients currently being treated for COVID-19. Because doctors are learning more about the virus and how to treat it, they said they are not overly concerned at this point by the slight increase. But they urge everybody to continue to take precautions. I know everybody is growing tired of restrictions, yet now is not the time to let down our guard. Please continue to take personal responsibility for wearing masks, avoiding crowds and large indoor gatherings, and washing hands. And please stay at home if you feel sick or show symptoms of any illness. Together, we can help to minimize the spread of the virus and keep everybody safe and healthy.
I want to remind everybody that I have scheduled a town hall meeting to discuss a preliminary concept and cost for a new public safety building to replace our century-old police station structure. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Ocean City Tabernacle (550 Wesley Avenue). I encourage you all to attend to learn more about our plans for this vital project. All attendees will be asked to wear masks and to maintain social distancing.
The Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority continues its work to replace a wastewater pipeline along Bay Avenue between Eighth Street and 31st Street. Before the contractor completes work and repaves the county roadway, the New Jersey American Water company will make necessary upgrades to its own infrastructure within the project area. With these projects lasting until the spring, our police department is asking all but local traffic to use West Avenue to travel between Ninth Street and 34th Street. Access to all local businesses and local streets will remain open, but through traffic will be faster and easier on West Avenue. I understand that this has been a long disruption for Bay Avenue travelers, and I thank you for your patience and understanding.
I want to thank our Healthy Living Advisory Council for their many suggestions for how best to utilize the parcel of land adjacent to the Ocean City Community Center that we are working to acquire. But I also want to reassure neighbors, residents and taxpayers that this land will be preserved as open space. The city has no plans to build on this land.
Our Public Works Department collected about 32,000 pounds of paper during our paper-shredding event last weekend. That’s 16 tons of paper that will be recycled instead of going into our landfill. I want to thank everybody who participated and remind you to mark calendars for the next event on May 1, 2021.
Ocean City received a grant that funded installation of an upweller to raise shellfish in a controlled environment on the grounds of the Bayside Center. This system will provide an excellent learning opportunity for local students and local volunteers, and ultimately the adult shellfish will be transferred to the bay to help protect local shorelines and improve water quality. Everybody is invited to a ribbon-cutting at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at the Bayside Center (520 Bay Avenue) to learn more about this project.
Jay A. Gillian