By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(April 19, 2018) After sitting adrift in the public works yard for several months, the infamous Ocean Pines pirate ship playground this week sailed into White Horse Park.
Fueled by a donation from the Mary Mac Foundation, Inc., the structure was installed last year at the yacht club, but removed because of safety concerns related to surfacing and fencing surrounding it, General Manager John Bailey said.
“[Concerns] were not with the equipment, but with the fall area and the way it was fenced in and structured – it wasn’t real good,” Bailey said. “The pirate ship itself was fine. It had one loose board on it and we’ve been doing some cleanup as we’re moving it in [at White Horse Park].
“The functionality of it is safe and we wanted to make the fall area and all of that much safer in this location,” he added. “The perimeter around it [at the yacht club] was my concern.”
White Horse Park, off Ocean Parkway, borders the community center and administration building, and is also home to the popular Ocean Pines Farmer’s Market.
Bailey said re-installation began on Tuesday. He said the initial desire was to move the ship to the beach club in Ocean City, where it could have sat on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. City setback regulations, however, would have required the playground to be installed virtually “in the parking lot,” Bailey said.
“It would have been cool to have the pirate ship at the beach,” Bailey said. “There were two negative aspects about that though. One, you wouldn’t be able to use it year-round and, two, the practical aspect that we can’t put it in there anyway.”
He said the Manklin Meadows playground was also considered, but it lacked enough space.
Bailey said the ship would replace some of the older equipment at the White Horse Park playground, include a mini excavator.
“Parts and pieces of that had been welded multiple times to keep it working, so that’s just going to disappear, unfortunately,” he said. “Being a guy and having a boy at one point in time who was little, he would’ve loved that … but maybe we’ll look at getting another one of those later on.”
Bailey said the pirate ship would be a front-and-center-feature at the park and Tim McMullen, who oversees the Mary Mac Foundation, is “very excited” about the new location.
“I thought this was a good location,” Bailey said. “It adds a new element to White Horse Park and it’s a prime location – everybody will see it. The folks who willingly donated their money for this should be pleased.
“We’ll get it in and probably put some caution tape around it until we’re sure it’s OK and stabilized, and then we’ll open it back up,” he added.