Based on a statement posted this week on the event’s website, H2O International founder Jay Shoup had a lot on his mind. What was unclear was the future direction of the event, despite the hashtag, “#TheRebirthofH2Oi.” It was obvious it was coming back, but it wasn’t until Wednesday’s motorized vehicle task force meeting when it was learned where the event would be held. The event will now be moving north to Atlantic City, N.J., according to Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan.
The timing of the statement and the confirmation the event would be relocating is more than a little bit interesting. Rereading it and armed with the knowledge it was relocating, the statement seems to read more like a one-fingered salute to the town on the way out.
“H2O International has absolutely nothing to do with Ocean City, MD and whatever happens in Ocean City during the week(end) is beyond anyone’s control. Can you control all of those who caused all of the rioting several times on the boardwalk? Who is to blame for that? Can you control who drinks at all of the bars and decides to drive afterwards? Who gets that blame? Much like H2Oi cannot be held responsible for those who want to act like a rock star while staying in OC around the time H2Oi is being held outside of Ocean City’s city limits,” the statement reads.
Shoup then goes on to allege the city has no interest in working with him on his event and the so-called problems that arise from it.
“I was only ever invited to 2 ‘Ocean City meetings,’ in the 18 years that H2Oi has been on the eastern shore and I gladly attended both. The Mayor called me the ‘elusive one’ saying that I was hard to get in touch with but truth be told, I was only ever invited twice and that was years ago. I encouraged tougher enforcement, I encouraged zero tolerance policies and I made it clear that I can provide vast knowledge of the community that attends my events. I haven’t been contacted to assist for YEARS,” the statement reads. “How about you embrace my clientele, the loyal VW/Audi community, not the idiots who cause problems…? How about a small thank you for coming to OC on an otherwise “dead” weekend? They have to stay somewhere, they have to eat somewhere, they will need gas, snacks, some will wish to have a few drinks at the 5000 bars and restaurants OR I can tell them that Ocean City, MD does NOT welcome them and you can close up your shops, as per usual around this time of year…? Which would you prefer? I don’t have to tell anyone how the economy is driven locally, but if you truly need an explanation, I would be happy to point out that you are living in a resort town, not a retirement town and we rely on special events and the almighty tourist dollar! Let’s do the math quick – 100,000 people (which is a low guesstimate) x $100 per day (again another low guesstimate) – 100,000 x $100 = $10 Million! Per day.”
The entire statement can be viewed at the event’s website, www.h2ointernational.com.
I am trying to remain open minded about the median fence project in Ocean City, but I must admit it’s getting more and more difficult as the project continues to take shape along the highway.
Maybe I was being naïve opining previously that the fence project was worth trying out if it saved lives. I still believe that to a degree, but I’m not sure I was prepared for the visual blight it’s going to take on the two-mile stretch of Coastal Highway from roughly the Route 90 Bridge to the Powell convention center. The fence is one thing down the median, but it’s the new light poles mixing with the old poles on the sidewalks and the overhead wires that gave me angst while driving it this week. As I was driving, I admit to thinking what a huge mistake this will be.
Aside from our ocean and bay vistas, I wouldn’t say Ocean City is an aesthetically beautiful city to navigate through. However, the unsightliness of this stretch of Coastal Highway is disturbing. I’m hoping for the best once the project is completed, but at this point at the end of April I fear it’s going to be a debacle.
Based on his comments this week, it seems Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan is bracing for a negative backlash in his office to the new parking system at the Inlet. He said several times this week he wants the city to be proactive and aware the new parking system is complex and people are going to need a lot of help with it this summer.
“Whatever you anticipate as maybe a learning curve of a delay with people getting used to the new system this year, double or triple that because that’s what’s going to happen. The pay stations are difficult and it’s going to take a while for people to get used to them,” Meehan said. “… The first time we have a busy weekend, you’re going to see lines at those pay stations. We don’t want them to walk all the way over to some booth to figure out how to do something. We need to be prepared for that. Let’s just be very proactive.”
I think he is right. The simplest way to navigate this parking system is to install the app because it eliminates waiting in line at the kiosk, which is going to give people from all generations some struggles.