OC Looking To Illuminate Beach Ball Water Tower

OCEAN CITY — An effort is underway to illuminate the new beach ball-themed water tower at 1st Street, but thus far a possible solution has been elusive.

Last year, the 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 design is already welcoming visitors along one of the main entrances to the resort in the historic downtown area, and while most are pleased with the final outcome, the design has met with derision in some circles because it is not entirely unique and represents a lost opportunity to add something distinctive.

Still others called into question the need for a unique paint job on the new water tower at 1st Street, which added around $10,000 to the cost over the traditional pale blue paint scheme seen on most water towers in the resort. Nonetheless, resort officials have embraced the design and are exploring options to illuminate it with spotlights, presenting a unique addition to the skyline in the historic downtown area.

Thus far, however, the effort has met with challenges. At the close of Monday’s meeting, Councilman Wayne Hartman asked City Manager Doug Miller about the progress on the illumination of the beach ball water tower, but Miller said the first attempt had met with negative results.

“The first phase of this project included multiple suggestions to light the water tower,” he said. “I gave this to the public works director [Hal Adkins] and he spoke with Delmarva Power about the possibility of locating spotlights on the various poles they have in the area.”

Miller further explained that option quickly turned out to be unattainable.

“Delmarva Power had a hardship in that they would actually have to raise the poles up to keep the spotlights away from their wires,” he said. “That was a pretty expensive option, around $60,000 I think, so that wasn’t going to happen.”

Miller said the Delmarva Power pole option did not necessarily signal the death knell for the opportunity to illuminate the beach ball water tower and that the city would continue to see if there was a low cost option that made sense for all involved.

“We’re not going to pursue the Delmarva Power option, so the project is pretty much dead from that standpoint,” he said. “Hal has come up with another option, but we haven’t moved any further with that. I’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any progress.”

The new tower at 1st Street consolidates the water needs in the downtown area. As a result, the old water towers at Worcester Street and 15th Street were razed last month when the new tower became operational.

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.