State Board Okays Convention Center’s 2nd Phase

OCEAN CITY – A trip to the State House for Mayor Rick Meehan resulted in much praise from state officials as well as receiving approval for the further expansion of Ocean City’s Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

On Aug. 22, Meehan made a trip to Annapolis with City Engineer Terry McGean and the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to go before the Board of Public Works.

Ocean City is approaching Phase 2 of the convention centers expansion, which includes a performing arts auditorium with fixed-tier seating to seat 1,200.

The items to be approved by the Board of Public Works included the extension of Ocean City’s lease agreement with MSA, which also binds them to sharing half of the operating budget of the convention center. Also, the approval for Phase II funding, the award of the architectural contract to Becker Morgan in Salisbury, and the award of the construction contract to Whiting-Turner in Baltimore. All the requests were unanimously approved.

Meehan pointed out that the Board of Public Works consists of Gov. Martin O’Malley, State Comptroller Peter Franchot, and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp. On the day of the mayor’s visit O’Malley was absent and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown sat in for him.

“We were very warmly greeted by the Lt. Gov., and by the Comptroller and Treasurer,” the mayor said. “They had all just been in Ocean City during MACo (Maryland Association of Counties convention) and they all wanted me to tell you how much they enjoyed their time in Ocean City, how great Ocean City looked, how wonderful of an experience it was for them …”

The mayor furthered the comptroller and treasurer also commented on Ocean City’s success this summer that has been reflected in the recent taxes that have been sent to the state.

“Of course, they’re the ones that count the money so they were very happy about that and they wanted me to take back to the Mayor and Council and all the employees, a job well done,” he said.

Meehan also reported that the State Comptroller discussed the issue of schools starting before Labor Day.

“He is going to continue to pursue that, and he is looking for support for that initiative,” he said. “He was looking for my support, which I certainly gave him. As a matter of fact, I went on to say that my opinion … is that it is almost un-American to go back to school before Labor Day and that was very well accepted, actually by a round of applause.”