Supporting More Rectangular Fields in Wicomico County

Soccer Fields Overlooked in West Metro Core Media Coverage

The recent news report on the proposed multi-sports park near Hebron has soccer enthusiasts feeling side-lined, as it failed to mention the strong public interest in dedicated soccer fields at the west metro core park. The report seemed to focus primarily on the expansion of baseball facilities, giving the impression that the park will primarily serve West Salisbury Little League. This apparent oversight neglects the needs and desires of the soccer community and the public in general as it could contribute to a skewed perception of the park’s intended purpose and public acceptance.

On April 25th Wicomico County Recreation and Parks held a public input meeting at the Rockawalkin Community Center to unveil its West Metro Core Park proposal and to answer questions and address the concerns of the public. In this meeting, the main talking points were dedicated soccer fields, park maintenance, and how the traffic would impact the surrounding communities. See this article for images of the plan

Site of the proposed West Metro Core Park on Levin Dashiell Rd in Hebron

Dedicated soccer fields dominated the discussion with points being raised that rectangular fields would also serve Wicomico County Recreation and Park’s goal of multi-purpose fields as rectangular fields could also host lacrosse, field hockey, and flag football. Sports that are all seeing a rise in popularity alongside soccer. Public distrust of Wicomico’s intentions was on display with the county’s historic lack of interest in soccer entering the discussion. The 2017 removal of soccer fields from the Henry S. Parker Complex, along with the inadequate soccer fields that were retrofitted into Winterplace Park, were both cited by the soccer enthusiasts as evidence of the county’s position. A director of a local private soccer program entered into the discussion recalling an incident where he was promised field space in exchange for assisting with Wicomico County’s Youth Soccer program, only to be told later that the fields would be unavailable as the county was letting a softball program use them. Furthering the publics contempt for Wicomico County’s plan, the point was made that the county already has a plethora of diamonds available for baseball. Many of which are not being maintained, which segued into a discussion about park maintenance.

When questioned on the subject of a maintenance plan for the proposed west metro core property, the director of Wicomico County Recreation and Parks responded that budgeting for the maintenance for the park was a part of the planning process. The public then insisted that the county also consider the increased trash along the roadway as a part of its maintenance plan and budget.

Traffic concerns were raised in relation to the placement of the entrance and how traffic would impact the four-way stop at Levin Dashiell Rd and Rockawalkin Rd. In the proposed west metro core plan, the entrance and exit are place in such a way that the headlights of vehicles leaving the park would shine directly into one resident’s house. Additionally, it could be a public hazard as it is also placed on a blind turn. The public was also concerned that an increase in traffic in the area could overwhelm and already struggling four-way intersection at Levin Dashiell Rd and Rockawalkin Rd. The engineer for the project stated that once they moved past this first part of the park planning, a traffic study would be completed and they could make adjustments to the park as needed.

In light of the recent news report, and media perception; if the concerned citizens that attended this meeting wish to ensure their interests are taken into account during the development of the proposed park, they are going to need to take continued action in order to raise public awareness. Interested parties should get involved by attending public meetings, contacting county representatives, or engaging with online discussions on the matter.

To read and comment on the full news report at WBOC, follow this link: Proposed Park Near Hebron Could Allow West Salisbury Sports to Grow