On Dec. 27, The Daily Record published an editorial suggesting that the Maryland Stadium Authority “should be legislatively reformed to return to its original purpose — running Camden Yards” (“Editorial Advisory Board: Reforming the Maryland Stadium Authority”).
As one who has been involved in project development with MSA for almost 20 years – first as a city councilman and later mayor — and who has seen firsthand how they deliver first-rate public facilities that benefit communities throughout the state — I strongly disagree.
The Town of Ocean City has one industry — tourism — and in 1992 we saw an opportunity to bolster that economic engine if we could expand our Convention Center to attract year-round activities. To do so would require state assistance, and we began our first partnership with the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Working with MSA, we were able to determine the size and scope of our expansion, as well as a means to pay for it. And, as they have proven on numerous occasions through the years, they delivered this project on time and on budget. It became a catalyst for bolstering our four-season appeal and exposing new visitors to our town.
The continuing success of our Convention Center, and the need for additional space and amenities to keep us competitive, brought us back to MSA three years ago to evaluate how best to expand again. Their feasibility study gave us guidance on what we could — and couldn’t — afford, and how best to structure our plans over several years.
As a result, we are now in the process of building a bayside ballroom and multiuse exhibit space that will be ready (on time, on budget) this fall. In future years, we plan to add a multipurpose auditorium that would give additional options for conventions and provide a performance space for our regional audiences.
The Stadium Authority is where economic development and quality of life projects meet. There is no better example of that than in Ocean City.
Richard W. Meehan
Mayor, Town of Ocean City