By Elizabeth Bonin, Staff Writer
(Jan. 16, 2020) Ocean Pines might see another solution for improved cell service along Route 90. A discussion of that possibility arose after the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a request from Public Works to open bids to repaint the north water tower in Ocean Pines.
The project will cost approximately $400,000. Public Works Director John Tustin said his department is still waiting for a construction permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment, but wanted to get started on bidding so the work can begin by early spring.
After the measure passed, County Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic asked if there were any antennas on the water tower. Tustin confirmed that there are an unknown number of privately owned antennas that are no longer active. The antennas have to be removed for the repaint.
Mitrecic then advised inquiring if Verizon could use the water tower after the project was complete.
“I do know they have a serious problem with dropping calls on 90,” Mitrecic said. “I don’t know if this would help.”
Tustin said the idea would be explored.
After the meeting, Mitrecic said that it was around this time last year when Verizon asked to build a cell tower at the Ocean Pines Wastewater Treatment Plant. Ocean City Today reported in December 2018 that the commissioners rejected a five-year lease agreement for a cell tower site. Calvert Crosslands would have sub-leased space on the tower to Verizon.
“It was turned down by the commissioners, the two commissioners that actually represent that area, were vehemently against it, so they were turned down to go in that area,” Mitrecic said. “That’s why I said maybe the water tower would be a site that could be utilized for those antennas.”
He believes the county can inquire with Verizon at any time. Public Information Officer Kim Moses said that she does not believe the county will make an inquiry until the repainting project is complete around May.