OCEAN CITY, Md. — The controversy surrounding the placement of Trimper’s Rides’ 149-foot-tall Ferris wheel seems to have reached a conclusion Wednesday after the amusement park informed town officials that it will move its ride off town property.
Trimper’s and Ocean City have been in communication since town leaders ordered the amusement park to move its Ferris wheel off the Boardwalk on Monday night. The park had until Tuesday to develop a plan and inform the town about how it would rectify the situation.
Questions about the Ferris wheel’s proximity to the Ocean City Boardwalk, which is owned by the town, arose over the weekend. The encroachment was confirmed Monday when a survey paid for by Trimper’s found the ride overhung town property by at least 10 feet.
In one of the updates from Trimper’s on Wednesday, park officials told the town it will dismantle the 149-foot tall Ferris wheel on Monday and move it, according to Jessica Waters, communications and marketing director for Ocean City.
The Big Wheel has been shut down, according to Waters, but the town will continue to issue fines for the zoning violation until the Ferris wheel is off the Boardwalk.
Trimper’s had received at least three fines from Ocean City from Saturday through Monday, Waters said Tuesday. Each fine was $500, and Waters added it can be increased up to $1,000 each day until the ride is moved.
Trimper’s had not responded to requests for comment on the plan to move the ride as of Wednesday morning.
On Monday night, Trimper’s President Antoinette Bruno said the Ferris wheel’s incorrect placement was the result of human error.
“I think we made an error of a few inches, and we’re sorry. It wasn’t intentional,” Bruno said.
During Monday’s regularly scheduled Town Council meeting, town leaders told Bruno the park needed to move the ride or it will continue to be fined by Ocean City.
Park officials and Trimper’s attorneys tried to seek a solution with Ocean City in which the ride could stay in its position until July, when it was originally scheduled to be taken down, but the Town Council declined to negotiate.
Bruno told town leaders it would cost in excess of $100,000 to move the Ferris wheel and nearby rides, adding that Trimper’s Rides couldn’t afford to take on that expense.
Town leaders, including Mayor Rick Meehan, expressed their support for Trimper’s, but told Bruno that her ride violated zoning rules and had to be moved.
It’s unclear how Trimper’s will accommodate the Big Wheel’s new position. Bruno had stated during the council session that space to move the ride would be an issue, likely resulting in the elimination of another ride.