SALISBURY — With $262,000 in grant funding for a new skate park already approved, the Salisbury City Council has decided to hold off on accepting the money while searching for an alternative location for the project. However, Community Development Director Debbie Stam warned the council that too much delay could cost the city future funds.
“I don’t want to wind up in a situation where there’s no skate park,” said Stam.
Five years in the works, the grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would fund Phase 1 of the plan to build a new, free skate park in Salisbury. While the council was unanimously behind the idea of a park, not all were sold on the proposed location near South Park Drive.
“I do have some reservations about the current site,” admitted Council President Terry Cohen.
While the proposed area is relatively clear, some trees would have to be removed in order to accommodate the park.
“I’m really not real thrilled to put concrete over natural areas,” said Cohen.
Councilmember Debbie Campbell suggested the city look into another nearby site that would require less management. The only problem is that Wicomico County owns that parcel of land. Cohen asked Stam to look into the possibility of having the land donated to the city for use hosted the skate park.
“I think it is going to be a regional facility,” said Cohen in defense of bringing the county onboard.
Stam revealed that, originally, the project had been a joint effort between Salisbury and Wicomico but that the city eventually took over.
Cohen saw this as an opportunity to bring the county back on board and was optimistic about its willingness to donate the land for a free skate park. Stam promised to quickly look into the issue, but explained that too much of a delay accepting the money could have serious consequences.
“[DNR] will expect us to move forward in a timely manner,” she said.
Though there is no hard deadline, Stam told the council significant hesitation could jeopardize the application that the city has in for follow-up funding for the project’s second phase.
“We don’t want to be perceived as not going forward,” she said.
Mayor Jim Ireton told the council that his office would assist Stam in reaching out to the county. While Stam expects the process to move quickly, she asked the council keep the current location in mind should Wicomico decide not to donate the parcel.