Hardwood should be part of boardwalk discussion

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To the editor:

Hat tip to Councilman Mike DeVlieger for wanting to consider hardwood options for the boardwalk redecking. Utilizing hardwood is a discussion worth having.

The one thing we all know about the pine we are currently using is that in about 5-6 years it is going to be split, cracked, warped and need replacing. Now, I understand the reasons we are currently using pine. We already own the wood, so let’s use it up instead of wasting it. But when it is used up, let’s be smart about what we buy next.

We already have sections of the boardwalk done with hardwood that, after 30 years, looks like it was just cut yesterday. And in another 30 years, those sections will still look like they were just cut yesterday. That fact alone means that hardwood should be part of the discussion.

I am aware that there are environmental concerns with using hardwood that some believe takes hardwood out of the discussion. Personally, I believe it is better for our environment if we only have to cut down enough trees to redeck the boardwalk, truck the lumber in and redeck every six decades instead of every six years, which puts it right back in the discussion.

 Hardwood has an economic shelf life that we cannot ignore. It is worth having a calm, rational, logical discussion about all of the options to continue to extend the life of the boardwalk, one of Ocean City’s most important assets. Lock the name callers out of the room if need be, there are only a handful, so the rest of us can discuss this issue like adults.

I’m not saying we have to choose hardwood; I’m saying we should have all options on the table, including hardwood. And thank you to Councilman DeVlieger for wanting all options on the table, too.

Ed Sheppard
Ocean City


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