Friday, May 7–Program Open Space Funds Unlikely To Surface For Years

SNOW HILL – While Worcester County has been awarded state Program Open Space funding this year, the actual funding will not be made available for two years.

The annual list of Program Open Space recommendations, presented to the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday, includes $10.8 million in projects over the next five years.

Inclusion in the list, which the state requires and which must be approved, does not guarantee funding.

“It is not, and I emphasize this, a funding commitment. It’s a plan,” said Worcester County Recreation and Parks Director Sharon DeMar Reilly.

Program Open Space has awarded $170,000 to Worcester County for acquisition and development of open space and park facilities.

“Those funds will not be available for us until fiscal year 2013,” said Reilly, adding with a smile, “I believe there’s a shortage of cash.”

One necessary change the county would like to see is a new wall at the county recreation center to keep soccer balls from shooting over a plexiglass viewing window and hitting somebody, Reilly said.

Commissioner Linda Busick asked about Showell Park’s restrooms.

“As soon as we get water for that park,we can address those issues. I agree it would be a nice thing to do,” said Reilly.

The towns submitted lists of projects to be considered for Program Open Space funding, which the county often passes on to municipalities to be used for those initiatives.

Ocean City continues to request more reimbursement funds for the building addition to Northsde Park, to be used for debt service on the project. The resort would also like to begin improvements to the downtown recreational complex and replace equipment at the Robin Park Playground.

Berlin would like some funding to expand the tot lot at Stephen Decatur Park and funding for the future purchase of an environmental park.

Snow Hill would like to make lighting and security upgrades to Byrd Park and add landscaping to three areas at downtown Sturgis Park.

Pocomoke did not make any Program Open Space requests.

Worcester County would like to buy property adjacent to Showell Park and property next to Greys Creek Nature Park to allow for public access.