Boardwalk Digital Sign Install Eyed

OCEAN CITY – Officials say new digital message signs will be installed on the Boardwalk in the coming weeks.

Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo told members of the Ocean City Tourism Commission Monday that he anticipates 14 double-sided variable message signs to arrive in the coming weeks. Those signs, he said, could be installed along the Boardwalk by late September.

“I will tell you that the double-sided signs are ready and have been shipped,” he said. “So we will be installing those, hopefully soon. We anticipate everything being up hopefully by the end of September, but I’m not sure about that. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that they get in. We have a contractor doing everything.”

Last month, the Mayor and Council agreed to purchase and install 14 double-sided, or 28 total, variable message signs along the Boardwalk. The total cost of $549,815 is being paid for with dedicated advertising funds.

“We already know 70% of the people that vacation here venture to the Boardwalk,” Perlozzo said at the time. “So it’s an excellent opportunity to take advantage of that.”

Currently, the Boardwalk features four VMS signs at Worcester, North Division, 9th and 15th streets. Instead of simply replacing the signs, the tourism department recommended new, high-resolution displays be installed at 14 locations along the Boardwalk at existing Crown Castle poles.

Perlozzo told the council last month the new variable message signs would allow the tourism department to not only share emergency messaging but promote Ocean City events and businesses.

“It gives us the opportunity to get some eyeballs on the things we’re doing,” he said.

The council ultimately voted 6-1, with Councilman Peter Buas opposed, to install the double-sided displays on the Boardwalk. For his part, Buas argued the new signs would add visual clutter.

“I just think it’s too much visual stimulation out there,” Buas said last month. “I might be in the minority, and I’m okay with placing them, I just don’t want to clutter the Boardwalk with 14 more locations.”

During Monday’s tourism commission meeting, Mayor Rick Meehan noted that new digital signs have already been installed on the backs of the Boardwalk trams. He said the signage provided marketing opportunities for the town.

“The digital signs are all functioning and look great on the back of the trams,” he said. “It’s a great advertising opportunity too … They really stand out, and they have great color.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.