(April 9, 2021) Worcester County officials will spend part of their budget process in the coming weeks deciding what to do with $1 million in state funding for recreation and parks.
The money, an annual allocation from the state’s Program Open Space, was approved within the state budget this year and can be used for any project involving planning, acquisition or development of recreation land or open space areas.
Del. Wayne Hartman (R-38C) said this week that he would like to see the money used for a future sports complex in Worcester County.
However, Tom Perlozzo, the county’s director of recreation and parks, said that project does not have any traction yet.
“That money, or a portion, could be used for a sports complex but the county commissioners still need to decide the direction,” Perlozzo said. “Once they do that, there will be a lot of changes to Program Open Space.”
The subject also came up recently in Ocean City.
During a discussion on March 11 about the town’s 2022 capital improvement plan, some council members said they would have liked to include an indoor sports complex in the plan, but that it was left out because staff members were unsure of a partnership with the county. Council members are planning a work session soon to discuss.
Besides the sports complex, the state money can be used for any number of recreation and parks projects throughout the county.
Last year, for example, Perlozzo said officials used the money from the program to repair fencing, construct a fishing pier and build a multi-purpose field in Newtown Park in Pocomoke City.
“Basically what happens is, the county will approve the funds to approve projects during the budget process, which is happening as we speak,” he said. “In the next couple of months, funding will be earmarked for those projects.”