Ocean City Today

Old bowl still lingers long after Dew Tour departure

City thought it had a great deal when it got to keep it, but now it isn’t all that sure
By Katie Tabeling | Jun 22, 2017
Courtesy of: Hal Adkins Pieces of the Dew Tour Bowl, which was the highlight of a skate competition for four years, is rusting in a storage lot in West Ocean City.

(June 23, 2017) Pieces of the late great Dew Tour skate bowl, called a “monster” structure by some resort officials, is rusting in a storage lot on Keyser Point Road in West Ocean City, and it’s going to stay there indefinitely until the city figures out what to do with it.

The problem is that hunk of concrete and steel is a large piece of the puzzle that is the Third Street recreation complex, which is slated for construction this fall.

“We’ll need to decide soon what to do with that park, since soon we’ll need to factor in the new tram facility on Second Street, and where to move the tennis courts,” Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito said.

“That complex has a lot of amenities, like the basketball courts, the playground, the field where the Little League once played and, of course, the skate park that will all need to be considered.”

For roughly six months, city officials have been hammering out details of a parks master plan, which would outline any new improvements made to the resort’s 16 parks. Progress is slow, since the Recreation and Parks Commission meets once a month to discuss plans and options raised during the community meetings earlier this year.

Rough designs for upgrades the Ocean Bowl Skate Park were created, with the full consideration of the local skating community and later shelved. Some drafts included pieces of the massive bowl that was constructed when the national Dew Tour competition took place in Ocean City from 2011 to 2014.

Petito said that the preliminary plans included only segments of the bowl, because the difficulty level of the full-sized facility might have been too much for amateur skaters. The original bowl covered nearly 4,000 square feet, with pockets, vertical ramp and a half-pipe.

“We were offered the bowl by promoters as a tourist attraction to the skate community, and potentially, it could also be combined with another iconic piece of history,” she said. “We do have the oldest municipally-run skate park in the area.”

The problem, however, is money. Estimates put the cost of setting up the Dew Tour on a temporary basis at $100,000 by an outside contractor. Just moving it from the West Ocean City lot is projected to cost $10,000.

That price was a little too steep for some city officials. At the directive of the Recreation and Parks Commission, City Manager Doug Miller informally asked if Berlin would be interested in the bowl for its own skate park, but that deal fell through.

During the parks commission meeting last week, Petito recommended that instead of looking at the larger picture with the master parks plan, city officials needed to have a discussion on the vision for the Ocean Bowl and the Third Street park complex, and whether it includes the Dew Tour bowl.

“We talked a lot about options, but we now need to make a list of what we’d like to see what’s feasible,” she said. “Then we can move forward.”

Instead, Councilmen John Gehrig and Wayne Hartman who sit on that commission opted to wait for the master plan before making any final choices on the Dew Tour bowl. Hartman, who chairs the commission, did have concerns that the Dew Tour bowl would deteriorate while working on the large-scope plan.

“If you’re waiting for the master plan, I don’t think that it’s going to happen this year,” he said during last week’s meeting. “To be honest, I think the largest resistance on this [the bowl] is coming from the [parks] staff.”

Petito said later that while she did not think delays in the master plan were caused by the Dew Tour bowl debate, “it may be true for the Third Street facility.”

“An option is always to take out that park and look at it individually, and see what can work and what doesn’t work there,” Petito said. “We’re putting together a group of people [that meets for the master parks plan] that hears from different groups of people. The council hears from some constituents, and we hear from other users. You can’t please everyone.”


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