Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is backing a plan to renovate and expand the convention center in Ocean City, pledging $20 million in state funds for the project.
He said Thursday he would submit 2019 legislation seeking money for the $34 million upgrade, which will be overseen by the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Hogan’s support comes after a legislative effort this spring to secure the funds for the project failed.
“We’re really excited,” Hogan said at the announcement in Ocean City. “It’s a wonderful facility, but it needs to be expanded and updated.”
The announcement from the governor’s office did not provide a timeline for the project. The town of Ocean City is expected to contribute $14 million.
Backers of the plan say additional space is necessary to keep the facility competitive.
Designs call for the addition of 30,000 square feet to the facility’s existing 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall. The project also would expand the parking area.
The extra space could lead to about 22 additional events a year, up from about 82 annually, according to a 2017 study for the Maryland Stadium Authority.
The study also estimated that the expansion would create between 470 and 670 new jobs and generate as much as $67 million in new economic activity.
Originally built in 1970, the Roland E. Powell Ocean City Convention Center has been expanded twice.