County Finally Acquires Property

SALISBURY – County officials agreed this week to purchase an acre of land near the Mason Dixon Sports Complex after nearly a month of negotiations.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to acquire one acre of land near the Mason Dixon Sports Complex in Delmar for $35,000.

“If there’s a will, there’s a way to get things done,” Councilman Joe Holloway said. “I think we worked through this well.”

In June, Wicomico County Recreation, Parks and Tourism Director Steve Miller approached the council with an opportunity to acquire an acre of land near the complex. The county would use $34,000 in Program Open Space (POS) funding – or the average appraised value of the lot – to purchase the property. The owner, however, presented an asking price of $38,000, meaning the county would be responsible for the $4,000 overage not covered by POS dollars.

The council made multiple attempts to approach the seller – Marshall Auctions – with an offer of $35,000, which was not accepted.

Councilman Bill McCain noted his father – former Delmar Mayor Bill McCain Sr. – championed the effort to establish a complex for local Little League teams. He said he supported the acquisition, going so far as to offer $4,000 from his own pocket to pay the $38,000 asking price.

“We should be here as a council to make things happen and make our community better,” he said at the time. “The question should be how can we make this work, not how can we make this not work.”

On the agenda this week, councilmembers had before them a resolution to acquire the one-acre lot for $35,000 and to accept a donation of $3,000 from the Delmarva Shorebirds “Fly Together Fund,” which would cover the difference.

But before the council could take action, Miller announced Marshall Auctions President Doug Marshall had approached the county attorney within minutes of the vote to accept the county’s $35,000 offer.

“Mr. Marshall contacted the law office and stated that he would accept the purchase price of $35,000 without the Shorebirds money,” he said. “The one thing noted … is that he’s requested that we would honor Mr. McCain Sr. for his past contributions to the property and the Delmar Little League, that we would put a recognition on the site.”

With the latest development, the council voted 7-0 to strike any reference of the $3,000 donation from the resolution. The council then voted unanimously to approve the resolution as amended.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.