There are several options on the table for Ocean City when considering a possible painting of the reconstructed 64th Street water tower. Officials could simply go with the color blue with a town logo, another beach ball design similar to downtown or a golf ball with tee design aimed at promoting the town-owned Eagle’s Landing golf course.
The beach ball water tower should be summarily rejected. One water tower painted as a colored beach ball is one too many for my taste. I thought all along if the city was going to get away from its trademark sky blue with town logo it should have chosen a simple fishing theme. The downtown area is an historic area, and this water tower would have been a nice reflection of the city’s roots and historic significance as a small fishing village.
I will give the town decision makers enough credit to assume another beach ball will not be the final choice. By the looks of it this week, it looks like the golf ball design has the votes to pass.
The question is whether it will market Eagle’s Landing solely or golf in general. I think marketing the golf industry as a whole with a short slogan, such as “Golf Ocean City” or “Golf The Coast,” would be the best option. There could even be some financial support possible from area golf courses to make it happen through a marketing partnership. Simply advertising the town’s course is short sighted in my opinion. It would be a missed opportunity that will surely result in some negative emotions among competitors.
The median fence on Coastal Highway continues to be a hot button issue in Ocean City as well as a popular social media commentary. There were two troubling Facebook posts making the rounds this week, including one I think will result in an immediate tweak.
An unidentified man made some news this week when he was videoed easily crawling underneath the fence. This relative ease will surely be duplicated during the summer months. This would seem to be an obvious engineering flaw to me, as there’s no reason for that much space at the bottom. The fence needed to be high enough to discourage people from trying to climb it, but leaving that much space at the bottom is an error that should merit some sort of fix.
Another image posted online shows four men crossing mid-block on Coastal Highway from east to west near 52nd Street after taking an ocean dip. It appears the group realized too late they couldn’t cross, despite the five-foot-plus fence clearly in front of them. Once they noticed they couldn’t get through the fence, they walked south along the highway to an opening near the intersection. It was incredibly dangerous.
I’m still holding out hope this median fence was not a $4 million-plus mistake, but at this point I think the State Highway Administration was right to tell the Ocean City Mayor and Council earlier this month it will take at least two summers to know if the fence is a success in deterring pedestrian accidents. The council wasn’t thrilled about hearing subsequent phases of the median fence project were not a definite at this point. In this case, I agree with the state. Take a wait-and-see approach is wise before committing to expanding this fence further south along Coastal Highway.
It comes as no surprise Worcester County was not willing to pitch in $300,000 toward the resort’s ongoing Boardwalk security access project.
During a meeting this week, the Worcester County Commissioners approved budget adjustments by a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Joe Mitrecic in opposition. In his explanation for not supporting the specific budget adjustments, Mitrecic, a former Ocean City councilman, referred to the Boardwalk security project rejection.
“I still have to say I am disappointed that the county could not fund Ocean City’s request. Number one, the $100,000 for the tourism grant. Most of the money, the $300,000 we are going to see in extra room tax comes from the West Ocean City area which enjoys the advertising funds of the Town of Ocean City. To deny the $100,000 completely is unfair. I can’t support this because of that,” Mitrecic said. “We also had a request for $300,000 for Boardwalk security system, $600,000 over two years. This is arguably the most used and most populated 27 blocks of the state of Maryland at any given night in Ocean City. I think it’s shortsighted of the commissioners to deny Ocean City that and the fact that we had the audacity to actually ask Ocean City to put money in for the Inlet study on top of the fact that we denied them this. We’re giving Ocean City $92,000 or $93,000 less than we gave them last year. I think it’s totally unfair to the Town of Ocean City. I wish my commissioners would consider that. I can’t support these purchases or a budget that denies that.”
As a result of Ocean City not approving funds for the study, the Inlet matter is very much in a state of uncertainty at this point. The governor signed off legislation this week committing $300,000 in state dollars to the Inlet study, which should result in a realistic look at long-term possibilities to address chronic shoaling. Worcester County has pledged $150,000, while the federal government will come through with $600,000 through the Army Corps of Engineers. That leaves $150,000 unfunded at this time. It only makes sense to come from Ocean City even if officials are sour over the county not supporting the Boardwalk effort.