Officials Hold Off On Themed Boardwalk Tram Concept

Officials Hold Off On Themed Boardwalk Tram Concept
Officials Hold

OCEAN CITY – Mermaid-themed Boardwalk trams were pushed off into the future this week as city officials decide to move forward with tram advertising as planned for this summer season.

At the conclusion of Tuesday morning’s Transportation Commission meeting, City Manager David Recor brought up a concept to expand on Boardwalk tram advertising that was brought forward by the Boardwalk Development Association (BDA), a committee of the Ocean City Development Corporation (OCDC).

Currently, eight of the town’s boardwalk tram conductor cars are being equipped with tram rooftop backlit displays for both local and national advertisements. The cost to install the advertising equipment is about $7,500 per car.

Learning of the advertising plan, the BDA proposed a themed advertising concept to Recor during a committee meeting a few months ago.

Anticipating that Public Works will be submitting cost estimates for additional advertising frames on tram cars in the future the BDA offered what tit thought would be a more esthetically pleasing option.

“After seeing the example, the BDA was concerned about the esthetics of the trams, and while they weren’t opposed to the advertising they encouraged the town to consider a theme of the advertising components themselves,” Recor said. “They want the trams to be an attraction, a ride on the boardwalk. Picture the motor car with the body of a mermaid, and the cars behind it being the tail of the mermaid with somehow the advertising display area incorporated into that theme. Each car would be designed to have its’ own theme like the mermaid or a pirate.”

There is no funding available for the concept at this time, Recor stated, and while he explained that to the BDA, he added there is still room for the discussion in the future when it comes time to replace the tram cars.

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed as he pointed out for those who are on the Boardwalk every day the sights may become bland but for visitors the Boardwalk and tram are not everyday sights.

“Everything they [visitors] see is an experience for the visitor,” the mayor said. “If you start to encumber the current advertisement space it is going to take away the viability of the advertisement. Anything progressive is a good idea but it should be incorporated into a future discussion to see if that is the direction we want to go but we are already moving forward this year with what is planned.”

Ocean City Director of Transportation George Thornes gave the commission an update of the current tram advertising plan. Advertisers on board for the backlit displays are Dippin Dots, Tanger Outlets, Quitline, Department of Health and Mental Health and Casino at Ocean Downs. Proposals have been submitted to Sanuk, GrubHub and Coppertone and responses are expected next month.

The commission asked to have the town’s transit advertising firm, Direct Media, attend next month’s commission meeting to give an update on efforts being made to fill the remaining tram advertising spaces for the summer season.

The council approved expanding the tram rooftop backlit advertising campaign following a pilot program last summer when a McDonald’s ad was displayed on one of the tram conductor cars. McDonald’s did not sign on to advertise again this summer.