(Oct. 25, 2019) Worcester County officials are looking to boost the popularity and marketability of Showell Park on Racetrack Road with a permanent concession facility and handicapped-accessible bathrooms, per the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Director of Recreation and Parks Tom Perlozzo said the upcoming project was facilitated through a Maryland Program Open Space grant of $200,000 applied for last year.
“The county is eligible for Program Open Space dollars [through] an annual appropriation,” he said.
The pending upgrades at Showell Park are part of a five-year plan for the county’s parks.
“In that plan, with Showell Park being one of them, was a $200,000 concession [and] bathroom project, along with some potential other park improvements,” he said. “That should start sometime this winter.”
Located under 10 miles outside Ocean City, the 21-acre park features three fenced-in ballfields, primarily used for softball, with a pair that measure 280-feet and include LED lighting, while a third unilluminated field is 200 feet deep.
The recreation facility also includes basketball courts, tennis/pickleball courts, horseshoe and volleyball pits, pavilion area and two playgrounds segregated between ages 2-5 and 5-12.
Noting the array of outdoor activities currently accommodated, Perlozzo said the planned improvements should help cement Showell Parks’ reputation as a premier recreation destination in northern Worcester County.
“We had a concession operation out of a shed and we have a portable restroom contract, but now we’re going to change that all up to a permanent concession and bathroom facility,” he said.
Plans also include building a new covered area to sit and eat, Perlozzo said.
“The facility is getting very popular,” he said. “The feedback from the events that we had there [said] if we had a more permanent bathroom [and] concession facility we’d be able to attract some additional opportunities that the county could take advantage of.”
Perlozzo envisions the finished product will improve the marketing potential for Showell Park and assist in luring sports tournaments to the region.
“From that perspective, we anticipate the opportunity to go out and sell that as a destination location for the county to attract softball [or] baseball,” he said.
Perlozzo also noted the park is adjacent to schools and the larger Ocean Pines community.
“It’s right across the street from the new Showell Elementary School being built,” he said. “It’s easily accessible to people in northern Worcester County.”
Although groundbreaking is still pending, the project timelines are slated to wind-up in time for the next cycle of warm weather.
“We anticipate being able to start that project sometime in December or January,” he said. “The idea is to have it open and ready to go this spring.”