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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Viola updates financials, projects

By Greg Ellison

General manager reviews  capital expenditures, recent    amenities reopening details

(June 18, 2020) General Manager John Viola provided a status report for capital projects, the recent golf course reopening and nearly completed bulkhead repairs during the OPA Board meeting on June 3.

Viola said both the Golf Clubhouse and cart barn are finished with both wrapping up under budget.

The new Golf Clubhouse was projected to cost roughly $1.6 million, with the final price coming in around $1.4 million. The cart barn, which was budgeted at $430,000, was completed for approximately $312,000.

Work on the expanded police and administration building project is expected to be finished in late September.

“All indications right now are we’re on track and on budget,” he said. “It probably will be completed beforehand.”

The expanded police headquarters building is budgeted at $1.276 million with $764,000 spent as of May 31. The updates on the administration building, which are budgeted at $220,000, had cost just over $100,000 by the end of May.

By contrast, the Northstar software project is not on the fast track with the completion date for full implementation recently extended to December.

Viola said instituting the software package within OPA departments was budgeted to run $430,000, while cost overruns revising estimates as of May 31 to $437,000.

“The consultant apparently has come in over budget,” he said. “Right now we have spent less than the budgeted amount.”

Board member Tom Janasek inquired about the consultant price discrepancy.

Viola said the consultant fee was anticipated to run $90,000 but could end up well over $125,000.

“It’s being addressed,” he said. “We’re looking at what else has to be done and what we’re going to do.”

Turning to golf operations, Viola said the course was reopened on May 9, barely 24-hours after Maryland began easing mandated covid-19 restrictions.

The course is currently being operated with health-safety guidelines in place, including limiting cart use to single riders or two people from the same household, with staff wearing masks and gloves.

“Check in at the starter shed has run smoothly,” he said. “We do sanitize the carts after each use and the range balls also.”

Attendance records are being kept to maintain contract-tracing capabilities in the event of a covid-19 outbreak.

“We’re keeping track of the numbers, as well as seeing how the experience goes for the golfers,” he said. “We’re probably doing about 60 percent business.”

Viola said while there have been instances of golfers being turned away because of cart limitations, the overall golf experience has been largely positive.

“It does show that you can open under these restrictions,” he said.

Looking ahead, Viola said the golf shop would remain closed until new furniture and fixtures are received, likely by the end of June.

“Merchandise is starting to ship as factories are being reopened,” he said.

Timeframes to official open the now completed Golf Clubhouse remain unknown.

“It depends on when Gov. Hogan allows indoor dining,” he said. “My best guess between June 5-15.”

Viola also reviewed nearly completed bulkhead repairs along Ocean Parkway between the entrances for the Wood Duck I and Wood Duck II neighborhoods.

The front end of Ocean Parkway is on track for completion by June 12. Originally scheduled to wrap by May 1, extra time was involved because of materials being delayed during the pandemic.

“There’s a lot of good stuff there and it’s probably all going to be completed within the next two weeks,” he said. “I think it will be pretty nice at the end of the day.”