OCEAN CITY — A pair of local Boy Scouts are making significant contributions to the resort community with one Eagle Scout service project already well underway and another gaining approval from the Ocean City Mayor and Council last week.
Late last year, local resident Patrick Miller of Boy Scout Troop 225 sponsored by the Ocean City Elks Lodge achieved his Eagle Scout award, the highest award in the Boy Scouts, after completing all of the requirements, including a community-based service project. For his Eagle Scout project, Miller planned, designed and helped implement the newest addition to the growing artificial reef system off the coast of the resort.
Miller worked with the Ocean City Artificial Reef Foundation and Captain Monty Hawkins of the “Morning Star” to carefully select an appropriate site at the bass grounds that eventually became the Eagle Scout Reef. Miller’s Eagle Scout Reef is about seven miles off the coast in about 70 feet of water and already it is teeming with life and creating essential habitat while improving offshore fishing and new opportunities for diving enthusiasts.
Through the life of the project, Miller, with Hawkins’ assistance, oversaw the deployment of thousands of pounds of concrete “oyster castles” over the Eagle Scout Reef. The Eagle Scout Reef is part of a vast network of artificial reefs off the resort coast which is growing all the time. Miller’s stepfather Tony Battista was a driving force in the early years of the foundation and provided the inspiration for his Eagle Scout.
While Miller’s project is complete and he has secured the Boy Scouts of America’s highest award, another local resident is working toward his Eagle Scout ranking with another community-based service project. William Rothermel, a member of Boy Scout Troop 261, in 2013 gained conceptual approval from the Mayor and Council for his project, a series of interactive, informative signs designated significant historical areas in the resort. Last week, Rothermel came back before the Mayor and Council for approval of his final designs, and with the elected officials’ blessing and a little help from the Public Works Department, he will soon implement the signs throughout the downtown area.
Rothermel, a self-described Ocean City historian of sorts, will install the attractive signs, each 24 inches by 36 inches, at six locations after conducting careful research. The signs, which will be displayed at 45-degree angles on two posts, are currently being manufactured and are expected to be installed in early March.
Rothermel told the council the signs are similar in design to the existing signs around the Inlet and other locations, but will focus on historic aspects of the resort as opposed to pointing out the various natural features. For example, one sign will be erected at City Hall. Another will be installed at the Talbot Street Dock, highlighting Ocean City’s rich fishing history.
Another sign will be installed at the western end of Sunset Park where the old train line once crossed the bay and will highlight the resort’s railroad history. Yet another sign will be installed at the downtown train depot and bus transfer station, which is a replica of the original train station.
Another sign will be installed near the concrete pad at Somerset Street and the Boardwalk and will highlight the historic pier and band shell that existed on the site for decades. Finally, a sign will be installed at the east side of the Boardwalk at Caroline Street where the Lifesaving Station was originally located.
Rothermel researched and designed the historic markers and will install them with some in-kind assistance from the town. Council President Lloyd Martin praised Rothermel for his efforts.
“This is a really nice project,” he said. “The town will benefit from this for years.”