The Ocean City Music Pier will light up with an array of entertainment. By Donald WittkowskiA new sound system that will improve the acoustics for concerts and other shows at Ocean City’s historic Music Pier was approved Thursday night by City Council.The $402,000 sound system is one of the main components of a series of upgrades planned this year for the landmark building, which serves as the city’s main venue for entertainment and cultural arts. Clair Solutions, of Manheim, Pa., was awarded the contract for the sound equipment.City spokesman Doug Bergen explained in an earlier interview that the current sound system is outdated. In addition to improving the acoustics, the new sound system will eliminate the need to rent temporary equipment to accommodate some performers and to avoid the stacks of speakers that can obscure the stage and video screens, he said.The sound improvements will follow $150,000 invested in the building two years ago for large video screens that give spectators a better view of performances. This was done with donations by the Friends of the Ocean City Pops, the fund-raising arm of the local orchestra that calls the Music Pier its home.The orchestra’s performances are part of an array of entertainment and special events hosted by the Music Pier. Throughout the year, there are concerts, musicals, beauty pageants, food festivals, antiques fairs and other shows.Mayor Gillian stressed that the Music Pier is such an important landmark for Ocean City that it must be protected and enhanced with a series of capital improvements.“It’s one of the most iconic buildings of Ocean City,” he said in an interview in March.City Council approves a $402,000 contract for a new sound system at the Music Pier.The Music Pier opened in 1929, the same year as the stock market crash that plunged the nation into the Great Depression. The building’s oceanside location at Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk constantly exposes it to storms and the corrosive salt air.Most of the upgrades planned this year are designed to maintain the historic structure, Bergen noted. Altogether, the city is expected to invest $2.1 million for the Music Pier’s refurbishment.Most urgently, the building needs a new roof and a new heating and air-conditioning system. City officials say the work on the roof and heating and air-conditioning systems will likely be completed this fall to avoid any disruptions with the summer entertainment season.City Council approved a $28,500 contract Thursday with Concord Engineering Group Inc., of Voorhees, N.J., to design the heating and air-conditioning upgrades.Improvements to the Music Pier’s stage lighting and bathrooms will also be done to create a more inviting experience for the tens of thousands of people who visit the building every year.Inside, the hall seats between 900 and 1,000 people for most shows. On New Year’s Eve, the Music Pier serves as the location for the headline act for the city’s First Night festivities, a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration to ring in the New Year. The building’s open-sided loggia overlooking the ocean is also a home to special events.In other business Thursday, Council approved the reappointment of Dorothy McCrosson and her Ocean City law firm, McCrosson & Stanton, as city solicitor. The contact runs from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, and has an estimated value of $50,000, according to the Council resolution authorizing McCrosson’s appointment.The Music Pier is perched on the beach, offering sweeping oceanfront views.