State Approves Park Work Funds

Travis Brown
Staff Writer

BERLIN – Last week the Board of Public Works approved a $162,525 budget for park improvements in Worcester County.

Most parks will only be receiving between $1,000 and $4,000, but two parks will collect over three quarters of the budget just between themselves.

The Northern Worcester Athletic Complex will be given $28,800. The money will be going toward finishing the fourth phase of the park’s development.

The John Walter Smith Memorial Park is where most of the budget is being channeled. Besides receiving $1,200 for wood fiber replenishment, the park will be given $118,350 to complete the sixth phase of its recreational center development. That phase includes replacing snow guards, installing safety netting, ventilation louvers and a shot put area. The gymnasium floor was also in need of repairs due to the building having “settled” since construction.

While those two parks were the biggest part of the project, five additional county parks received a portion of the funding.

Bishopville Park obtained $4,050 to replace a pavilion roof. Herring Creek Nature Park acquired $2,700 to begin the first phase of its new development project. Isle of Wight Park gained $1,350 to repair walking paths, while Stockton Neighborhood Park got $3,105 to purchase new signage. Finally, Whaleyville Park was granted $2,970 for wood fiber replacement.

All park improvements were part of Program Open Space, and Worcester County Recreation and Parks Director Sharon Reilly remarked this week on the effectiveness of the program.

“Program Open Space is a significant factor contributing to Worcester County moving forward with John Walter Smith Park Phase 6 development projects,” she said.

The funds allocated to Worcester County parks by the Board of Public Works were considerably more than to most other areas. However, there was one county that received almost 10 times as much as Worcester. Carroll County obtained nearly $1.5 million total for a couple major projects in the western shore jurisdiction.

While the budget may seem extensive, there has actually been a drop in funding over the last several years.

“Program Open Space is a valued aspect of the Worcester County Department of Recreation and Parks,” said Reilly. “It is a great example of the state, county, and citizens working together to improve the quality of life for all citizens.”