By Maddy Vitale
The grande dame of the Boardwalk — the Music Pier, will get some needed repairs to spruce up the 90-year-old iconic symbol of Ocean City, as well as upgrades to the sound and lighting systems in the city’s capital plan for 2018.
“Just like the Boardwalk, the Music Pier is part of what defines Ocean City,” Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said Monday. “It’s important to maintain these public resources.”
City Council detailed at a Jan. 25 meeting the capital plan, which includes a multi-year $2.65 million in improvements and repairs to the Music Pier. The Council is expected to approve the plan next month. After that, contracts would need to be awarded in order for the work to begin on the pier.
Councilwoman Karen Bergman said during the council meeting, that she supports the investment in the Music Pier to turn the building into a “state-of-the-art facility” that would allow the city to attract more visitors. She also noted that the quality of the shows at the pier continues to go up.
The capital plan proposes to spend $500,000 each year, from 2019 through 2022, for Gibson Report structural improvements on the Music Pier, totaling $2 million.
“The Gibson Report points out the need for repairs to the roof, floor and substructure of the Music Pier,” Bergen explained. “The building is about 90 years old and is pretty well exposed to the elements. The 5-year capital plan accounts for this routine maintenance.”
Bergen also noted that the Music Pier is not in any need of emergency repairs, which is why the work can be rolled into the multi-year plan.
In addition to the structural repairs, the city plans to spend $100,000 for the sound system in 2019 and again in 2020. In 2021, the city will spend $125,000 on the sound system and in 2019 stage lighting will get a $200,000 upgrade.
“The two line items for sound system and stage lighting are designed for cost savings, as well as improvements,” Bergen said. “Every year, the city incurs rental and labor costs for a variety of different sound and light setups.”
The new systems will be able to accommodate most acts, Bergen said.
“There are also new FCC requirements for wireless sound frequencies used by performance venues,” he added.
Other improvements include $75,000 to be spent in 2019 on the public restrooms at the Music Pier, as well as $50,000 for window tinting, also in 2019.
The Music Pier is the hub of the city’s entertainment and concert scene, where many special events are held throughout the year. From beauty pageants, to concerts, the venue is packed with activities for tourists and residents to enjoy, officials say. The lineup for this summer includes performances by Aimee Mann, The Hooters, The Beach Boys, America and Get the Led Out.
The improvements will follow $150,000 invested in the building last year for large video screens for spectators to get a better view of performances. This was done with donations by the Friends of the Ocean City Pops.