Council Sinks Golf-Ball Water Tower Idea


A proposed golf-ball design for a water tower in Ocean City, Maryland, that some hoped would be a hole in one has instead ended up in the rough of government bureacracy after opponents raised concerns about the public asset promoting one golf course at the expense of others.

Earlier this year, the city nixed a shared-marketing idea that would have had the Coca-Cola logo painted on the water tower. From there, the project moved to the Request for Proposals phase, which garnered submissions ranging from a simple light blue paint scheme to a golf ball-and-tee design that would promote the town-owned Eagle’s Landing golf course.

Ocean City Water Tower

Some of the proposals made in response to the RFP fell within the city’s $250,000 budget, while others landed well above par. The basic blue theme was estimated to cost $620,000; another bid had a basic blue paint job at $182,000, with the town’s logo costing an additional $32,000; a beach ball design would cost $89,000 and the golf ball theme was estimated at $158,000.

In what turned out to be a lively debate, Councilor Wayne Hartman motioned to remand the bids to staff for review, with only the basic blue paint job or the basic blue theme with the logo included for discussion.

Bidders included Manolis Painting Company, based out of Baltimore, Maryland; D & M Painting Corporation, based out of Washington, Pennsylvania; and the Horizon Brothers Painting Corporation, based out of Howell, Michigan. Each company made bids under the different options: A-1 was the basic blue, B-1 was for basic blue with the cell tower equipment reinstalled and C-1 was for basic blue with the town logo.

Political Golf Ball

While the idea of the Eagle's Landing golf-ball design was originally touted as a way to promote the region's golf tourism in a general sense, the concept met with resistance from private course owners who felt it privileged the public course over their facilities. 

“It looks like the golf ball concept might be stuck in a sand trap,” Hartman said at the meeting. “I recommend stopping at the C-1 option and remand the bids to staff for review.” 

Other councilors advocated that all options be reviewed. Hartman responded with the hopes that “nobody up here is considering spending $158,000 more on a golf ball logo for a government entity,” let alone one that competes with private business. Councilperson John Gehrig responded that the staff should be allowed to do their job. He also advocated for upholding customary process.

The motion to remand the bids passed unanimously. From here, staff will make a recommendation to the council and the mayor at an upcoming meeting.


Tagged categories: Government; NA; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Water Tanks

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