(Sept. 12, 2014) With $2,000 already raised, a challenge has been issued to the local community to help gather funds for more beach play equipment in downtown Ocean City.
Following a $1,000 donation made several weeks ago by Tow Boat US owner Greg Hall, city councilmen Doug Cymek and Brent Ashley each gave $500 checks to the town this week to further jump start the effort.
“I think both Doug and I would join Mr. Hall in issuing a challenge to the public to also donate,” Ashley said.
In July, the city installed what will hopefully be the first of several new play structures on the beach – a cast concrete dinosaur skeleton and fossil eggs for children to climb on and crawl through.
“From what I’ve seen, the dinosaur has been a big hit with the kids,” Hall said. “I thought it would be a nice thing for Tow Boat US to give back to the community. It’s been good to me over the years, working with the city. Hopefully someone else will pony up.”
In the spring of 2013, the city decided that it would not be returning the old wooden play-sets out of winter storage and back to their usual Boardwalk-adjacent positions.
Age, and the fact that the structures were never intended for commercial use, had caused them to become structurally unsound. Liability claims against the city were increasing, as well as the illicit use of the structures at night-time by teenage visitors.
Over the past 18 months, the city has searched for viable alternatives, as well as funding methods. The original structures were purchased by Boardwalk merchants, but funding has apparently been less forthcoming this time around.
The city shelled out $16,480 for the dinosaur set – which was actually half of the original price, given that the manufacturer had used that particular set as a display model.