OCEAN CITY — Firefighters arrived Monday at Pecks Beach Village housing on Fourth Street without sirens or a major emergency.
Firefighters said they planned to do training in the now empty buildings, where demolition had already begun. On a roof, workers in protective gear continued the painstaking asbestos removal, while an excavator equipped with a hydraulic claw waited in the background to begin the demolition.
This section of the Housing Authority property included 20 senior housing units. Months ago, those residents moved to Speitel Commons near Sixth Street and West Avenue, a $7 million, 32-unit complex completed in 2021.
The costs of demolishing the units on Fourth Street have been included in the overall cost of Speitel Commons, according to Bob Barr, who is both chairman of Ocean City Council and heads the Housing Authority’s board of commissioners.
The units were built over 50 years ago and have been flooded several times. After Hurricane Sandy, residents had to be relocated while major repairs were carried out.
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The Housing Authority plans to install new units on the site, which will be built to current flood standards.
“We are currently working on their design. They’re going to be finalized soon,” Barr said.
The Peck’s Beach Village housing complex included the 20 senior units north of Fourth Street and 40 family units on the south side of Fourth Street. In the long term, the 40 units should also be demolished and replaced. Barr said he was unsure of the timeline for the project.
According to the minutes of the Ocean City Housing Authority’s January board meeting, the council has begun taking steps to secure funding for the next phase of plans. Representatives are also meeting with Ocean City to discuss a site plan.
“There are two or three things that were clear. The city does not want the authority to temporarily move families offsite,” read the minutes.
This will mean building a 40-unit project north of Fourth Street where families can move in immediately, before demolition and construction can begin on the south side. The minutes indicate that council staff members feel that the design of the project can be made “very nice”.
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