OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week endorsed a state Tourist Area and Corridor (TAC) signage program identifying major attractions in and around the resort area.
The TAC concept, which will design, create and install highway signs for tourist-based attractions around the state, was first pitched at least four years ago, but the project was stalled over funding concerns. The TAC is a plan to eliminate some of the existing signs that direct tourists and visitors to attractions throughout Maryland with a unified, easily-recognizable sign program.
Working with Ocean City’s tourism department and the Worcester County tourism department, the State Highway Administration (SHA) has identified several attractions within Ocean City and in the surrounding area for the new signs. Among the locations chosen in the downtown Ocean City area are the Inlet, the Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum, Sunset Park, the Ocean Bowl Skate Park and the public fishing area along the bay adjacent to the downtown recreation complex.
Further uptown, the new TAC signs would direct visitors to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, the Center for the Arts at 94th Street and Northside Park, for example. The TAC program locally is not limited to Ocean City municipal limits. For example, over in West Ocean City, the new signs would direct visitors to the Ocean City Municipal Airport, Eagle’s Landing Golf Course, the Veterans Memorial at the airport and the Chamber of Commerce’s visitor center along Route 50, for example.
TAC Project Manager Stephen Hollie told the Mayor and Council this week SHA had reviewed 10 applications from the resort area for the tourism signage program, of which eight were approved, one was approved with conditions and one was denied. The application for the Veterans Memorial at the airport was approved with conditions while the application for the Performing Arts Center was denied because it did not meet certain TAC criteria in terms of public availability on a daily, routine basis.
“They need to have random visitation,” said Hollie. “The attractions cannot be limited to certain hours or by ticket sales in advance.”
SHA will pay for the design, creation and installation of the TAC signs. There is no cost for local jurisdictions, other than occasional repairs and maintenance. SHA officials on Tuesday were merely looking for an endorsement from the Mayor and Council in the form of a letter. The council voted 5-0 to approve the program locally.