‘The Town Of Ocean City Is Not Paying A Penny’ For Beach Ball Tower Painting

‘The Town Of Ocean City Is Not Paying A Penny’ For Beach Ball Tower Painting
Contractors are pictured Tuesday working on the beach ball water tower on 1st Street. Photos by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY — Crews this week began the tedious job of repainting the downtown water tower’s beach ball design after the original paint job failed after a few years.

By midweek, an elaborate scaffolding network and been erected around the beach ball-designed water tower at 1st Street. In September 2016, the original beach ball paint job on the water tower was completed, creating a unique downtown feature near one of the main access points to the resort.

In January 2017, wireless cellular service contractors climbed to the top of the 1st Street water tower and discovered the paint at the unseen top of the tower had blistered and was peeling away. Essentially, the colored top coat featuring the beach ball design and the town’s welcoming logo was delaminating from the white primer undercoat.

The town had contracted with Chicago Bridge and Iron to both build and paint the 1st Street water tower back in 2016 at a cost of around $5 million. When the original paint job started to fail, the town put Chicago Bridge and Iron on notice of the issue. Chicago Bridge and Iron had contracted with Sherwin Williams for the paint and completed the project to the company’s specifications.

Water tower repainting IMG EditAfter considerable back and forth between the two companies, Sherwin Williams acknowledged the issues with the original specifications and has contracted with another firm, Minoan, to repaint the tower at 1st Street at its expense.

While the town owns the water tower, it is basically an interested and invested third party in the dispute and did not complete the project, nor is it on the hook for the roughly $5 million do-over that got underway in earnest this week. As a result, Sherwin Williams is footing the bill for the repainting of the water tower.

“We were obviously not at fault at all, being we had not performed the work that failed,” said Public Works Director Hal Adkins this week. “Sherwin Williams is paying the cost. The town of Ocean City is not paying a penny.”

There is no immediate timeline for the completion of the new project, which includes essentially power-washing off the old paint and applying new primer and top coat colored designs. Adkins did say he hoped the repainted tower will be completed when the town is ready to welcome visitors again.

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.