Water Feature Planned For Convention Center

OCEAN CITY – After about 20 years of planning, a water feature outside of the Roland E. Powell convention center is coming to fruition.

“Last week during the review of routine budget amendments, I had a question regarding a water feature project planned to be constructed at the convention center. In subsequent conversation with the City Engineer, I have realized that the Mayor and Council discussed this many years ago, and prior construction on the city facility Mrs. Greenwood is here today to advise you of the project and its location,” City Manager David Recor said.

Ocean City Beautification Committee Chairman Donna Greenwood explained a custom water feature to be installed at the convention center was approved by the Mayor and City Council many years ago, and the committee has steadily raised funds for the purchase, installation and landscaping of the a custom water feature.

The Reflections of Life display provides a distinctive means of recording important events and interests in the lives of individuals, their loved ones and businesses by placing a gift of a bronze, silver or gold leaf or stepping stone on the impressive bronze tree sculpture mounted inside the lobby entrance of the convention center.

Greenwood furthered throughout the years and different convention center directors there has been several plans for the water feature, starting out with it being located on the east wall facing the ocean to being located on the back side with lights projecting out into the bay to be seen from the Route 90 Bridge, which current Convention Center Director Larry Noccolino found to not be feasible in communicating the Department of Natural Recourses.

The committee recently reached out for other concepts. A design by Walt Maizel of MNI Construction of a pond-less waterfall feature to be added to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center sign on the most northern wall of the convention center was accepted. The waterfall will not be installed directly to the sign, but built in front of it to depict a sheet of water flowing downward.

Preliminary work of temporarily removing landscaping and a part of the irrigation system has already begun.

“We are hoping that this will be finished before the end of the year,” Greenwood said. “At the time this all started, we didn’t know there was going to be a Performing Arts Center there, so now we are really excited … we think this will be the effect that we want when people walk up to the convention center and think ‘isn’t that beautiful.’ That is our goal.”

Greenwood added if there are funds leftover the beautification committee will be investigating a water feature to be adding inside of the convention center.

Mayor Rick Meehan thanked the Beautification Committee for following through with the project.

“Thank you for all of the hard work. It has taken a long time to go through the process and raise the money. This was first talked about in 1995. It has been quite a while, but it will be a nice addition to the convention center,” the mayor said.

The new state-of-the-art, 1,200-seat, two-tiered Performing Arts Center is slated to be completed by early December as well.

On Dec. 11 the initial showing will take place with Bill Badger of the Worcester County Development Corporation holding a symposium along with the Ocean City Development Corporation and other stakeholders in the area.

On Dec. 13, local promoters T.E.A.M Productions has a hold on the facility for the first concert to take place with a Christmas show featuring The Texas Tenors.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for Jan. 17, which is Martin Luther holiday weekend, and will feature the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Julien Benichou to perform.