OCEAN CITY – City officials are investigate the possibility of adding a large beach ball to Ocean City’s skyline.
In February, the Mayor and City Council were presented with a five-year water and wastewater plan that called for the elimination of the elevated water towers on Worcester and 15th streets. Replacing these downtown fixtures with a new single water tower at a town-owned property on 1st Street and St. Louis Avenue was proposed.
According to Public Works Director Hal Adkins, the 1st Street Elevated Water Tank project is scheduled for bid opening on June 23. However, there has been recent interest from multiple parties to change the logo that is currently included in the bid package from the “standard logo” that reads “Welcome to Ocean City, Thank You for Visiting Ocean City”. The standard logo can be seen on the 64th Street and 136th Street water tanks.
“As the town prepares to begin another improvement by constructing the million gallon water tower on St. Louis and 1st Street, the Downtown Association would like to see the city use that structure to heighten visitor awareness by designing graphics that would stand out,” Brian McCarthy, board member of Ocean City Maryland Downtown Association, said. “Placing “Ocean City, Md.” on a blue tower would be a loss of a highly visible means of advertising. The tower’s proximity to the Route 50 Bridge, the Boardwalk rides and the White Marlin statue could lend itself to become an iconic memory for guests traveling over the bridge. The Downtown Association would support graphic designs like a beach ball or a crab as examples.”
Adkins furthered an inquiry has also been made by Jim Mosko of the White Marlin Open suggesting a logo indicating Ocean City as the home of the White Marlin Open. Ocean City Development Corporation has also weighed in in support of the standard logo.
Adkins asked if the council’s desire was to explore other creative options for the water tank and if so an addendum would be added to the bid package.
Councilman Tony DeLuca questioned the pricing of other options. Adkins responded when the Art League of Ocean City placed its brand on the 94th Street water tank it cost them $8,000.
Adkins furthered the concept of painting the water tank into a beach ball was explored many years ago when former Councilman Buck Mann pitched the idea. At that time, it was going to cost $50,000 to $60,000.
He acknowledged the Worcester Street water tower has displayed the Dew Tour logo for the past several years. That logo is a vinyl applique, which Adkins did not recommend due to the quality.
“Up until you gave me the price, I was leaning towards the beach ball. I would like to have a current price,” DeLuca said. “When you drive across Route 90 and you look at the ‘Welcome to and Thank You’ logo, it is kind of uninviting, uneventful and blends into the background. It is kind of boring until you get right up on it and you see you the logo. Do you remember the feeling when you were a little kid coming over the Route 50 Bridge? There is an excitement about it and if there was a beach ball, I just think that would be so exciting.”
DeLuca recognized there would be an increase in maintenance costs as well if the tank was painted to represent a beach ball.
“We will do the research to determine if there is a type of paint necessary. You want it to pop and to stay that way for many years. I wouldn’t want it to become a chalky, dull yellow and red configuration, and then we are wondering what we got ourselves into,” said Adkins.
Councilman Dennis Dare agreed nothing says Ocean City more than a beach ball.
“I think it could become iconic,” he said. “I liked Councilman Mann’s idea over 20 years ago. This isn’t a logo. It is painting the tower, and it may be the finished coat. The $50,000 may have been a logo in addition to the finished coat, so that number may be substantially reduced, and the only way to find out is to ask.”
Dare made a motion to add a line item to the bid package asking for a cost estimate in painting the 1st Street Water Tank into a beach ball.
“Beach ball screams family, and we need reminders of that sometimes in town,” Councilman Wayne Hartman said, as he seconded the motion.
The council voted unanimously to approve the motion.