OCEAN CITY – Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC) has been awarded three grants totaling $175,000 through the state’s Community Legacy Awards program.

“The OCDC is very pleased with the three grant awards totaling $175,000 from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD),” OCDC Executive Director Glenn Irwin said. “We have had a great relationship with DHCD since the OCDC started in 2000 and I think our downtown successes have been evidenced with these continuing grants.”

The first grant for $75,000 will go toward installing decorative lighting along the St. Louis Avenue during Phase II of the project, which runs from 10th to 4th streets.

“These spun concrete street lights were also included in Phase I of last year’s St. Louis Avenue project and add a nice, pedestrian look to the streetscape project that the Town of Ocean City is currently completing,” Irwin said. “The OCDC anticipates applying for grant funding again this year for the same type of decorative street lights for Phase III of the St. Louis Avenue street improvement project.  Last year the OCDC received grant funding of such street lights for Phase I of the project.”

The second grant for $50,000 will go toward the OCDC Business Assistance Program that provides financial assistance for fixed interior improvements to new and expanding businesses in the downtown area.  Like the Façade Program, applicants must provide at least two-thirds of the money for such improvements. Restrictions do apply for this program.

The final grant for $50,000 will go toward the OCDC Façade Improvement Program, which provides financial assistance to property owners, both residential and businesses, to renovate the exterior of their buildings. Funds can be used for a variety of exterior improvements such as new siding, porch repairs, windows, doors, and even landscaping, fencing and lighting as part of a larger renovation project.

“With these funds, the OCDC should be able to provide financial assistance to about 12 new property and business owners in the downtown area.  Grant assistance is capped at $5,000 per property in order to better spread the grant funds to more projects,” Irwin said.

OCDC has received grant funds annually from DHCD for its Façade Improvement Program. To date, 147 façade projects for exterior improvements have been completed in downtown Ocean City using DHCD grant funds to leverage private money.  Over $4.8 million of private investment has been used to renovate these downtown buildings.

In the past, DHCD grants funds have also gone to a number of OCDC programs, such as green building, land banking, entranceway sign feature and street projects.