Beach Ball Water Tower Now In Operation; Two Others Being Drained Before Razing

Beach Ball Water Tower Now In Operation; Two Others Being Drained Before Razing
Water tower evening IMG 8324 Edit 09 25 2016

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City’s downtown landscape will see another significant change in the coming weeks when two existing water towers are dismantled and the third with a beach ball paint job goes into service.

Last year, a new municipal water tower was constructed at 1st Street and St. Louis Avenue and was later adorned with a distinctive beach ball design paint job. The long-term plan was for the new water tower at 1st Street to replace the older towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street.

Consolidating the downtown’s water supply needs into the single water tower at 1st Street allows for the existing towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street to ultimately be dismantled. Removing the existing tower at Worcester Street will provide space for new parking spaces, while removing the tower at 15th Street will facilitate the expansion of the town’s water and wastewater treatment facilities.

The Mayor and Council learned on Tuesday that process is nearly complete with the new beach ball water tower ready to come on line and the old towers ready to be dismantled in a matter of weeks.

“The beach ball tower is filled and is now in service,” Chief Deputy Public Works Director Jim Parsons told the Mayor and Council on Tuesday. “The towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street are now being drained and by mid-February, both will be gone. The 15th Street water tower will come down first.”

In related news, City Engineer Terry McGean came before the Mayor and Council on Tuesday seeking approval for funding for the town’s wireless communication network. Ocean City places most of the antennae for its wireless communication network on high structures including the various water towers throughout the resort.

With the two towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street coming down, a plan was in place to install new wireless communication equipment on the new tower at 1st Street. The plan was to replace one side of the loop with a fiber optic link and reusing the existing equipment for the other half of the link, but McGean explained when the older equipment was inspected prior to the reconfiguration, it was determined to be in poor condition because of its age and the entire network now needs to be replaced. McGean said there was funding in the budget for the original plan, but replacing the equipment first believed to be salvageable would result in an increase of $50,000.

“What we discovered is the existing system is no longer usable,” he said. “The biggest one is the backbone antenna and without it, any loss would put us out of business.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the additional $50,000 needed to provide redundancy in the wireless communication system.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.