OCEAN CITY — The “beach ball” paint scheme on the new downtown water tower is starting to take shape, but it could be weeks or even months before the project is completed.
Late last winter and early spring, the Town of Ocean City’s new water tower at 1st Street and St. Louis Avenue steadily rose from the ground, at different times appearing as a dull, gray beacon lurking over the downtown landscape, but over the last week or so, it has begun to take shape with its 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.
In mid-July, crews began the process of painting the new water tower inside and out, first with a flat, white zinc coating. Over the last week or so, however, the new beach ball paint scheme has been steadily applied, creating a new attraction on the downtown landscape. As of mid-week, many of the colorful panels had been applied and the beach ball design was appearing evident.
Public Works Director Hal Adkins said this week the next step is to remove the huge curtain that hangs from mounts atop the water tower, giving the structure an appearance of a huge pin cushion. When the curtain, which extends from the top of the tower to the ground to prevent paint from spraying on neighboring properties, is removed, the rest of the colorful paint scheme will be applied.
A white panel adorned with the town’s logo will be applied on the tower’s southwest façade facing the Route 50 Bridge, likely in about three weeks, according to Adkins. From a functional standpoint, the new tower will likely be sterilized and come on line on or about mid-October.
Once the new tower is up and running, the plan from the beginning has been to remove the existing water towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street, creating a singular centrally-located tower at 1st Street, which is expected to improve efficiency and minimize the cost of future maintenance. Once the new tank’s paint job is finished, site work around the tower will begin in October. The existing towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street will likely be demolished next February.
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 currently features a Dew Tour welcome message.