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Solomons residents discussed the plan for the Tiki Bar opening April 19 at a meeting Monday night.

Residents and members of the Solomons Civic Association heard from the bar’s general manager Joe Kurley, Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans (R), 1st Sgt. Shane Bolger with Maryland State Police and Lt. David Payne with the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office about road closures, the bar’s business hours and several issues surrounding the bar’s popular opening weekend.

The Tiki Bar will open at noon Friday, April 19, Kurley told the meeting’s attendees. The Tiki King will arrive by helicopter at 4 p.m. that day, he said, and the bar will close sometime between 10 p.m. “to whenever we feel comfortable with the crowd.”

Kurley assured meeting attendees the weekend will be similar to past years — a sentiment shared by the officers.

Resident Carol Pennock said that seemed vague, but was assured by the officers that the closing is decided upon among the police and the bar’s staff.

“I really applaud your efforts,” Pennock told the officers, adding that their efforts have improved each year and the impact felt on the surrounding community has been diminished because of them.

“We have great cooperation with Tiki Bar staff,” Evans said, adding, “I don’t see anything different than last year.”

Bolger said if it becomes unsafe, the road will be closed at the Solomons Island Pier leading down to the bar. In addition, Evans said if traffic on the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge begins to back up, the exit to the island will be closed.

When the bar does close, Bolger said, there will be a point when the southbound lane will be closed to allow two lanes to exit the island.

“We can only get so many people out at once,” he said, comparing the situation to letting out a football game.

The Solomons Island Volunteer Rescue Squad will be stationed at the bar, Kurley said.

Bolger said once the road in front of the Tiki Bar is closed, officers will permit open alcohol containers within 210 feet of the establishment.

Projects, construction to begin at biological lab

Over the next 18 months, residents of Solomons Island will see several projects take shape at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Lab campus, including signs and the reconstruction of one building that is currently deteriorating.

Thomas Miller, director of the lab, said he wanted to update residents on what will be occurring because he doesn’t feel like there is a strong connection between the lab and the community.

“Over the past 20 years, I don’t think we’ve done a very good job at reaching out to the community,” Miller said.

The first project, which he anticipates to begin in August, will be to place signs throughout the campus. He said the signs will answer three questions: “Who are we? What do we do? And why is it important?”

The signs, which he said will resemble traditional campus signs, will be placed among the 22 campus buildings, he said. In addition, kiosks explaining what is happening in certain buildings and the projects scientists are conducting will also be placed around the campus. Miller also told attendees the lab would like to place directional signs at certain points on the campus.

Although the project is expected to begin in August, Miller said he wasn’t sure if all signs would be completed at the same time due to funding.

One of the 22 buildings, the Truitt Lab, is falling down, Miller told attendees. “Running sea water has corroded everything,” he explained, adding that the building has been empty for about four years.

In the next fiscal year, Miller said, the state has granted money for redesign and construction of the building.

“It’s almost a complete replacement,” he said. The building will only be “slightly larger” than the current building’s footprint, he elaborated.

The new building’s final plans are expected to be completed one year from now, Miller said, and the construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2014 and end in December 2014.

In other business, residents also received an update on Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s Southern Maryland Reliability Project, which many residents have opposed because of the effects it would have on local aesthetics.

According to Don McDougall, the resident who has taken charge of the effort opposing the 145- to 160-feet poles, local politicians have been contacted, including the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and county and state delegation.

He said he thinks it’s “safe to say they’re all sympathetic to our cause.”

On March 28, McDougall said he met with the Public Service Commission attorney and Office of the People’s Council, and they “helped reassure us that our efforts aren’t in vain.”

McDougall said he and others are still working with elected officials and the PSC.

aharrison@somdnews.com