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How Ocean City Deals With Memorial Day Population Spike

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With the swell of summer crowds to Ocean City's boardwalk, the city has to ramp up services to accomodate them.
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With the swell of summer crowds to Ocean City's boardwalk, the city has to ramp up services to accomodate them.

Each summer Ocean City, Maryland, transforms from a small coastal community to the state’s second largest city for three months. That presents unique challenges for a town of just 7,000 people face in getting ready to accommodate millions of guests.

Everyone knows Memorial Day is busy in Ocean City and everyone knows it’s the kickoff to the summer season. Hopefully you spent more time on the beach than you did in traffic this weekend, but let’s try to quantify what "busy" is for coastal businesses.

“We’ll do as much business in 72 hours as we will for the first three weeks of June combined,” says Ralph DeAngelus, who owns Taxi Taxi and Shuttle Shuttle in Ocean City.

DeAngelus says the first summer weekend in Ocean City is like preparing your staff for the Super Bowl and then starting the regular the season the next week.

“It’s a challenge, it really is, but if you can pull it off, then you are going to be successful," he says.

But businesses aren't the only thing doubling and tripling in size.

The city’s police department doubles to roughly 200 officers for the summer season because it utilizes college students that go through intense four week training in the city’s longstanding seasonal officer program.

The city’s infrastructure has to swell to meet the crush load of approximately 300,000 people per week. The city runs one bus in the winter, but 60 in the summer. The town’s wastewater flows are about 1 million gallons a day in the winter versus 15 million gallon a day in the summer.

Hal Adkins has been the city’s public works director for the past 30 years. He says Ocean City may be the only resort in the country that sees such a huge population spike in the summer months.

“We haven’t found one yet, I’m not sure if one actually exists," Adkins says.

Adkins says if he does his job properly, no one will ever know he or his department exists, and he’s completely content with being the guy behind the curtain each and every summer.

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