OCEAN CITY – Months before the recent requests by the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant-Association (OCHMRA) for increased advertising dollars to bring tourists to the town, business owner Joe Kroart presented a unique idea that aims to attract people to Ocean City
Joe Kroart, owner of Ocean Gallery World Center on 2nd Street and the Boardwalk, has proposed that the town build a “Boathenge,” an attraction that would resemble the world famous Stonehenge.
Stonehenge, a famous pre-historic site, is a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located in England and dated to be 5,600 years old.
Nebraska is home to a Stonehenge-inspired monument called “Carhenge,” which resembles Stonehenge but instead is built out of cars. According to Kroart, “Carhenge” has been a success as a tourist attraction and was even featured in (ITALICS)Life Magazine in a two-page spread. It is this kind of attention that Kroart aims to bring to Ocean City.
According to Kroart, “Boathenge” would be a “family attraction” and could be located on the beach on 2nd Street, “near the famous sand sculptures and palm trees.”
Kroart proposed that “Boathenge” be advertised in a way that reflects Stonehenge. For example; “Stonehenge: located 8 miles north of Salisbury, England. Boathenge: located 30 miles east of Salisbury, Maryland.”
With the success of the “Carhenge” and the increasing desire to bring more people to town, Kroart feels that “Boathenge” is the perfect solution.
Kroart’s son, Joey Kroart also endorses the idea, feeling it is a good response to the OCHMRA’s recent requests for help with tourism.
“Obviously, finding another half million dollars to throw at advertising for this summer is not a likely outcome, as budgets are set,” Joey Kroart said this week. “But burying a few boats would cost next to nothing, and would generate tremendous publicity.”
Joey Kroart also added that his father is not concerned with taking credit for “Boathenge”, saying that does not matter and that he is more than willing to let the OCHMRA receive credit and acclaim if it’s interested.
Kroart and his son have approached the OCHMRA with the idea in hopes of gaining support.
“It would be great for Ocean City,” Joey said. “We’ve gotten positive responses thus far. If they [OCHMRA] do get behind it, watch out.”
Support is mounting for the proposed project. According to Joey Kroart, Governor Martin O’Malley’s office has officially endorsed further discussion of the “Boathenge” project.
In addition, Maryland Delegate Jim Mathias has reported called it a “tremendous idea” and reportedly gave it his full endorsement, according to Kroart
Kroart pointed out the importance of inexpensive advertisements for the town and the benefits of having attractions that call attention to Ocean City.
Kroart referenced two recent books that have brought such attention to the town – “America’s Boardwalks,” which contains a 2 ½-page feature on Ocean City’s Ocean Gallery, and “Weird Maryland,” which also contains a 2 ½-page feature on Kroart’s Ocean Gallery.
It is Kroart’s belief that “Boathenge” is the kind of cost-efficient attractions that will bring tourists to Ocean City. At this point, “Boathenge” remains only a proposal, and Kroart encourages the public to get involved and express their opinion about it.