OCEAN CITY — Work has begun on the welcoming “beach ball” paint scheme on the town’s new water tower at 1st Street, but the question now is whether anyone entering the resort from the Route 50 Bridge will be able to see it in the future.
The new water tower at 1st Street rose steadily from the downtown landscape through much of the winter and early spring and its construction came in ahead of schedule in March. The plan is once the new tower is operational, the town’s existing water towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street will be removed, improving efficiency and minimizing the future cost of maintenance.
With the structure completed, crews last week began the process of painting the new water tower, which heretofore has been a dull gray beacon lurking over the downtown landscape. When it’s completed, the new water tower will be adorned with a somewhat unique “beach ball” paint scheme welcoming visitors along one of the main entrances to the resort.
Last year, the Mayor and Council approved the beach ball design after learning it would cost just about $10,000 more than the traditional pale blue scheme seen on most of the resort’s water towers. Public Works Director Hal Adkins said the paint job began last week and continues this week with crews working on both the interior and exterior.
Adkins said one of the first steps is to apply a light-colored zinc coating on the exterior. The hope is the lighter color will reduce the heat and make the painting project on the interior more bearable for workers in the height of the summer. Crews will then alternate the work on the interior and exterior until the project is completed and the beach ball welcoming design is finished.
However, while the paint job is being completed in earnest, it remains uncertain if it will achieve the desired welcoming effect planned in the future. Adkins said he and other resort officials recently walked out on the bridge to best determine where to place the white panel with the Town of Ocean City logo to be best viewed by visitors entering the bridge. The vantage point took into account a major hotel and restaurant project, which the city will officially approve this month, situated north of the bridge that will surely block motorists’ views of the tower to some degree.
The new water tower cost around $5.2 million and is being paid for through a $16.7 million bond sale for capital projects. Meanwhile, the removal of the existing tower at 15th Street will provide additional space for the expansion of water and wastewater facilities in that area. The removal of the water tower at Worcester Street will also allow for more parking. That water tower features a Dew Tour welcome message.