SNOW HILL – Heron Park could reopen as soon as next week.
Town staff were finishing up cleanup efforts at the park this week. Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said that as long as work is complete, he plans to suggest reopening the park at Monday’s meeting of the town council.
“I think it’s ready to reopen,” he said. “All perceived and known safety concerns based on noncompletion of the demolition have been addressed.”
The park on Old Ocean City Boulevard has been closed to the public for months. A contractor was in the midst of demolishing several obsolete buildings at the 60-acre park in June when a chemical spill was identified. The town spent close to $300,000 on cleanup of the spill but was advised it would cost even more to clean up the debris left from the interrupted demolition work.
Rather than spend the $55,000 quoted by a contractor to cleanup the debris, Fleetwood had town staff do what they could at the site. Town employees were able to remove the bulk of the debris. The biggest project they accomplished was removing the rebar and concrete from the clarifier tank leftover from the property’s days as a chicken plant. After the metal and concrete remnants were removed, dirt leftover from the creation of the submerged gravel wetland on Graham Avenue was spread over the area. In the spring grass seed will be planted.
Fleetwood said there were plans to add picnic tables to a concrete platform between two of the park’s ponds. The only area of the park town employees weren’t able to address was the small dilapidated building at the edge of one pond. Fleetwood said that would be fenced off.
Amy Field, chair of the park’s advisory committee, toured the site with Fleetwood this week.
“I was pleased and encouraged to see firsthand the work that has been done to clean up the park and remove the debris,” she said. “When the park opens, I hope visitors will be patient in waiting for every last task to be completed. But if they’re like me, they are ready to get back to walking the paths and doing some bird watching. My dog has been missing the park too… so we’ll be eager to get back to enjoying it.”