Town Manager’s Message
Hello and welcome to our website! We’re happy you’re visiting and getting better informed about your Town! The last few years have been busy but very rewarding. We continually work for the betterment of our community, including implementing recommendations from our Comprehensive Planning Process. For that reason, I wanted to share some of the accomplishments of the Town in recent years and give you a good idea of what our employees, with the support of our elected Mayor and Council(s) have been working on:
- Implemented our first bicycle safety project with the installation of experimental “green” pavement markings at five key intersections and one commercial driveway along State Route 26.
- Coordinated an outreach effort by forming a Pedestrian Safety Committee with four other area beach towns that is focused on delivering a consistent safety message/approach to pedestrian safety in the area.
- Significant stormwater and roadway safety improvements have been completed. Recent rain events during the summer of 2023 have proven the success of our efforts.
- The Ocean View Police Department and our Administrative and Planning Departments continue to secure grant funding for projects that will have saved the community well over $2 million by the end of 2024.
- The Ocean View Police K-9 Team, Officer Justin Hopkins, and K-9 partner Hardy, received recognition from the National Police Canine Association and were certified in training for Patrol, Tracking, Handler Protection and Drug Detection. K9 Hardy was retired in Spring of 2023, replaced by K9 Ori. In addition, our 2nd K9 Team of Officer Watkins and K9 Leo were brought on board in 2023.
- Officer Harrington received the prestigious 2020 Delaware Crime Stoppers Robert J. Seinsoth Memorial Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award for his work combatting illicit drugs in Southeastern Sussex County.
- We welcomed a new tenant/community partner to our Town Hall facility – South Coastal Village Volunteers. The SCVV mission is to assist residents in staying in their home by vetting resources and services, through recruitment of volunteers and educational programs.
- Lighting safety improvement projects were completed on Muddy Neck Road and Ogre Drive.
- The 2020 Officer of the Year was bestowed upon Ocean View Police Administrative Officer Russell Carter during the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards Ceremony for his work to ensure the OVPD remains at the forefront with its use of technology and modern practices to combat crime and improve public safety. Chief McLaughlin was awarded a 2023 Joshua Freeman award for his overall leadership and inventive engagement and training programs.
- With Council support the Ocean View Police Department signed an MOU with the Town of South Bethany Police Department related to shared resources/patrols.
- Upgrades to all police radios was completed in compliance with the Interstate Radio Connection Act.
- New surveillance cameras were installed in facilities and at the park.
- The Criminal Justice Council and Delaware Police Accreditation Board both conducted inspections of our Police Department operations and determined that the Ocean View Police Department was in full compliance with Federal regulations and contemporary practices.
- The Towns 10-year Comprehensive Plan update was approved in early 2021 and received the 2020 American Planning Association Small Town Award in late 2021. The award is presented to an outstanding Comprehensive Plan that addresses the development of a neighborhood, community, county, or region. Ocean View’s success in receiving the award was its high level of community engagement opportunities provided to obtain feedback and input as well as the Town’s commitment to the Plan, having already begun work on some of the recommendations. This achievement was followed in November 2021 by the announcement that the State of Delaware’s local chapter of the National Planning Association awarded Ocean View’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan update its 2021 Outstanding Planning Project.
- Ocean View successfully negotiated the purchase of property (33 West Ave) across the street from its John West Park and Community Center and plans to develop the property for additional parking in FY23.
- Exercise equipment was added to the walking trail at John West Park highlighting our commitment to a healthy community initiative.
- The Ocean View Police Department was honored to receive both the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Gold Level Recognition for Excellence in Policy Development and Police Officer Training.
- We prepare and mail our Newsletter each May! Plus we maintain an active Facebook page!
- Chief Kenneth McLaughlin was recently voted the Best Public Safety Official in Sussex County by the readers of Coastal Style Magazine!
- We note the completion of 3 projects aimed at improving and expanding our communication options. Between 2020 and 2021 the Town upgraded its website to provide a more attractive and user-friendly option, it changed its domain from .com to .gov to provide improved awareness and security for the site and launched a government access channel for residents named OVTV (Channels 78 & 818) to provide ease of awareness of Town initiatives and information. If you have cable TV, please be sure to tune in weekly!
- The Town’s record of being named the safest place to live in Delaware has continued, highlighting the Town’s commitment to public safety, and remaining a favorable place to do business, vacation and live!
- Increased partnership with Ocean View Historic Society and the Coastal Town’s Museum located in Town has resulted in numerous historic structures and the accompanying stories and artifact being available to the public including the recently completed replica of Hall’s store that held its ribbon cutting during our 2021 Old Town Holiday Market event. In 2023 the Historic Village was awarded $90,000 of Bond Bill funds to assist in the upkeep and maintenance of the historic facilities located adjacent to John West Park.
- A 2021 partnership with DelDOT and the Salt Air Gardeners Club culminated in the development of a Blue Star Memorial beautification site along Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View honoring all who served our country.
- Successfully completed the West Avenue Streetscape project. This was the first phase of the Town’s pedestrian connectivity initiative providing a safe way to walk to our popular John West Park. This effort was followed by the completion of the design for sidewalks along Daisey Avenue to the Assawoman Canal and along Woodland Avenue from Hudson Avenue to SR26, as well as Woodland Avenue from Hudson to Daisey, all on track for completion in 2023.
- Drainage improvements for Hudson Avenue, Country Estates and Country Village were designed in 2022 with work completed in 2023.
- Enjoyed very strong community support for our Community events having attracted families, neighbors, and friends to John West Park for family friendly outdoor programs and entertainment. It is estimated that over 8,000 people attended our free family friendly events over the course of the year in addition to those that regularly enjoy the park amenities including our shaded playground, walking trail and fitness equipment.
- Successful recruitment of one new Police Officer following the departure of an officer and initiated recruitment for our 14th sworn officer in association with the placement of a fulltime School Resource Officer (SRO) at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.
- The Ocean View Police Department volunteers logged 1,806 hours in 2022, this equates to the approximate value of $54,000 at $29.95 a volunteer hour!
- In advance to development, the Town annexed 27 acres of property along Woodland Avenue expected to begin construction by the end of 2023 as the Villas at Ocean View. Failure to complete this annexation would have resulted in a complex surrounded by Ocean View and benefitting from Ocean View services without actually being part of the Town and providing support.
- Ocean View successfully completed the development of additional parking across the street from the John West Park and Community Center following its purchase in 2022, adding another 29 parking spaces to better accommodate seasonal crowds.
- The Ocean View Police Department was awarded State of Delaware Police Accreditation, with comments that “...the Department is an exemplary representative of an accredited agency…that takes best practices to the next level.”
- The Town in partnership with Natelli Communities, LP completed the development of and held a ribbon cutting for two state-of-the-art Bocce Ball courts at John West Park. The courts are now open to the public as well as serving as the home court for the Special Olympics Delaware Sussex Riptides Bocce Ball team! The support of the project by Natelli Communities LP exceeded $70,000 with the Town contributing $15,000.
- Continued engagement with the South Coastal Village Volunteers and the University of Delaware Lifelong Learning classes have added energy to our community center and ease of access to members of our community for quality of life enhancing programs and services.
- Ocean View Town Clerk Donna Schwartz earned her Master Municipal Clerk designation in January 2023, making her the 6th town clerk in the state to reach this mark as presented by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks!
- The Town purchased open space property at the corner of Muddy Neck Road and Double Bridges Road with grant funding thereby eliminating the opportunity for it to be considered for residential housing. Plans are now being developed for the Berzins Natural Area and Park, complete with walking trails and scenic boardwalk overlooks. To date, staff and consulting engineers have applied for grant funds for the development of the site including a Delaware Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trail grant of $60,000 and a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant of approximately $800,000.
- The Town was awarded $89,950 in 2023 from the State Bond Bill for the purchase of Open Space!
I sure hope I didn’t miss sharing anything, but we welcome you to attend our monthly Council meetings (2nd Tuesday of each month at 3pm in person or via live YouTube feed) where our department heads and I present reports of activities. Our reports are also available here on our website.
In closing, it is a pleasure to serve the Town of Ocean View and work with the dedicated members of Council and our proactive and engaged employees!
If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please contact our offices.
All my best!