OCEAN CITY — Construction of a new park at the foot of the Route 52 causeway is getting closer to reality as the city works to acquire another blighted gateway property.

City Council is expected to vote Thursday on spending $650,000 to purchase the former Riggins gas station on the northwest corner of Ninth Street and Bay Avenue.

The city has been negotiating with the owner, Trinetra Realty Holdings, over the past year in an effort to turn that area and the neighboring property into open space.

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In November, the city purchased the former BP gas station next to Riggins for $475,000. In January, the city sought bids to build a park there and the following month approved a $347,658 contract with Command Company Inc. of Egg Harbor City for the work. According to a memo from city engineer Art Chew to city purchasing manager Joseph Clark, the former gas station properties will become landscaped open space with parking along Revere Place.

The memo compared the improvements to what exists at Mark Soifer Park at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue.

The city has been working to develop open space at the Ninth Street gateway for two years.

In January, the Planning Board denied an application by Keller Williams Jersey Shore to build a new real estate office at the site of a former Exxon gas station at Ninth Street and Bay Avenue. Owner Paul Chiolo had planned a $2 million, two-story development with parking underneath the building. Board members cited traffic concerns as the primary reason to deny the application for the 6,000-square-foot office.

City public information officer Doug Bergen said there are no plans to acquire the property. Chiolo was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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