Ocean Park Chamber now has 100 members, looks to future

The Ocean Park Area Chamber of Commerce is working hard to expand their duties as their membership has reached the "magic" 100 mark. The chamber is planning a new "Beach to Bay Trail," several festivals and manning their office on Bay Avenue on a more regular basis. KEVIN HEIMBIGNER photo

OCEAN PARK - Ocean Park Area Chamber of Commerce (OPACC) has reached 100 - one hundred members that is - in a community that was started by the Methodists in 1883 as a camping and retreat area.

The rapidly growing north end of the Long Beach Peninsula has breathed new life into Ocean Park commerce and the Chamber's interesting and dynamic efforts reflect this positive increase.

According to OPACC President, Sue Madsen of the Bank of the Pacific, the Chamber offices will soon be open more often and more consistent upgrading of available information will be provided visitors and locals alike.

The OPACC is in the early stages of developing the Beach to Bay Trail that will go east from the Ocean Park Beach Approach along Bay Avenue, then turn north on Sandridge Road to a place above 270th street. A bicycle trail and sidewalks will be available when the project is completed. Safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists will be improved upon and economic growth is seen as another advantage of the project.

OPACC's Web site, www.opwa.com, was set up largely by efforts from Ocean Park Resort owner, Curt Stevens, and features a plethora of information about the Peninsula's north end activities. "Curt (Stevens) has done a great deal of work on our website and has received only a heart-felt thank you in return," Madsen said.

The Web site features information on fun things to do for free (or nearly free), links to local merchant Web sites, facts on the Ocean Park Walking Trail, and a schedule of Ocean Park and Peninsula events throughout the upcoming year.

There is also a directory of OPACC members and associate members, links to local weather, and interesting synopses of local histories of Ocean Park, Nahcotta, Klipsan Beach and Oysterville. Area maps, snapshots of local activities, and tips on how to relocate to Ocean Park are included in the Web site.

Madsen had praise for the efforts of Stevens and for volunteer members of the Senior Center who used to man the OPACC office until the new Senior Center area opened in Klipsan.

"Of course Jack Downer was the grandfather of Ocean Park. He had many ideas and was a visionary about the economic development of Ocean Park," Madsen related.

Membership is $50 per year in OPACC and many non-voting associate members are also involved because "they are interested in the development of the area," according Madsen. Distribution of motel taxes from north end establishments will for the first time be used to defray costs of the OPACC office operations, according to Madsen.

OPACC is in the process of hiring someone to man the chamber office several days a week. Madsen said she is looking for someone who knows the area, has a strong ability to communicate, and is computer literate to fulfill communication needs via email. Interested parties should apply at The Bank.

OPACC efforts to enhance and expand growth on the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula appear to be forging ahead as the community continues to change from a fishing-based economy to one that relies on tourism and recreation.

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