OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, the Recreation and Parks Department showed signs it’s serious in trying to expand the sport of tennis throughout the resort, wine will be added to the list of libations at Springfest and Sunfest and a local special event is on the verge of getting national exposure.
Tennis Center Stays Open Longer, But Loses Money
Last year, a group of so-called tennis advocates visited the Recreation and Parks Commission meeting to try to persuade the committee to take as much interest in promoting the sport of tennis as the town does with golf.
As a result, the town opted to keep the tennis center open for the month of September, and even though the numbers were strong, and revenue was up, the added expense to keep the tennis center open made the venture lose money in the end.
“We don’t recommend staying open through Oct. 1 next year because even though our tennis program did very well the added expense for payroll had us coming in a little bit in the red,” said Recreation and Parks Superintendent Kate Gaddis.
The estimated $7,800 in the red includes $2,800 of unpaid fees from a local condominium association, which reportedly reneged on a three-year deal to use the facility this season.
“I’ve been in contact with the city solicitor and I’m not sure if we are going to see that money, but I will assure you that no one from that building used the courts this year as they were told they would not be allowed,” Gaddis said.
In another move that could please the tennis community, the commission approved the idea for the town to seek out a new director of tennis, whose main objective will be to manage the facility, and to give private lessons. Rod Dulany was the prior tennis director, but has since left the position, and his departure was noted as another reason for the added payroll expense.
The new director of tennis would work 40 hours per week for $14.42 an hour, and would be able to do some private lessons, which usually go for $65 per hour.
The commission hopes that meeting some of the tennis community’s requests will ease the presumed plan to close the facility down post Labor Day.
“Basically, they would like to see tennis be as popular as golf is, and I remember back in the day when tennis was everywhere,” said Councilman and Commission member Jim Hall. “It doesn’t sound like the numbers or the interest has ever gone down for tennis, but if it’s losing money by staying open later, then we can’t keep the thing open.”
Wine Added To City Festivals
The Recreation and Parks Commission approved a pilot program that would allow the OC Recreation Boosters the first shot at offering wine to visitors during Springfest and Sunfest in Ocean City.
The same entity that handles the sale of hot chocolate in the Winterfest tents will be allowed to use their non-profit 501 C-3 license to sell wine during the town’s two festivals at the beginning and end of the resort’s traditional peak seasons.
“The boosters would pay us one dollar per open bottle, but no less than $250 and the money comes right back to the town,” said Special Events Director John Sullivan. “There is a definite market for wine at these festivals and I think it will do very well. Doing it through the boosters solves all the issues that have stopped this in the past.”
Boordy Winery in Maryland has agreed to sell the Boosters the wine at cost, and the boosters will sign a contract with the county.
“I’m 100 percent behind this, as wine has come back into popularity, and I think it’s a little bit lighter and may keep people at Springfest or Sunfest longer,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “It’s classy and it’s an arts show so I think we should try it.”
Council President Joe Mitrecic, although in favor of selling wine at the festival, motioned to ensure that other entities other than the Boosters would be given a shot at providing the service in the future.
“I have a ton of ties to the Boosters and I do a lot of work for them, but I think you are opening up a huge can of worms if you just give it to one group,” said Mitrecic. “The Optimists and the Lions clubs and many others have given a lot of money to this community so this needs to be put into the rotation.”
Car Show To Air On National TV
Bob Rothermel, organizer of the Endless Summer Cruisin’ event that draws more than 1,000 cars to the resort each fall, told the Mayor and City Council on Monday night that he’s bringing national exposure to the town, as well as thousands of car enthusiasts.
Rothermel, who went before the Mayor and Council to get the date approved for the scheduled Oct. 7-10 Endless Summer Cruisin’ Show, silenced any debate concerning town expenditures during private special events with the news of national television exposure. It was recently reported that the Ocean City Police Department projects $26,000 for staff to work this event.
“We expect to have upwards of 2,000 cars this year, and we have also received word from Fox Sports Net that they will be do two national broadcasts from our event,” said Rothermel. “We are confident it’s going to be another great event, in this our 13th year.”