Supporting More Rectangular Fields in Wicomico County

Three Wicomico County Recreation Organizations Unite Over Concerns About West Metro Core Development

The Sharptown Recreation and Parks Commission, MRC, And Hebron Recreation Committee, partners of Wicomico County Recreation and Parks, issue a joint statement in response to the April 25th, 2023 West Metro Core public input meeting.

wicomico county recreation

It is the position of The Sharptown Recreation & Parks Commission, MRC, and The Hebron Recreation Committee that the concept presented at the public hearing on April 25th does not sufficiently address the needs of the residents of Wicomico County. In particular, the western portion of Wicomico County, of which this park would serve. We believe that a project of such scale should be undertaken with the public’s best interest in mind, focusing on Wicomico County’s own recreational sports programs. We are concerned that none of the local Recreation and Parks commissions were consulted during the planning process, which may have led to an unbalanced representation of the needs of the community.

The Sharptown Recreation & Parks Commission, MRC, and The Hebron Recreation Committee would like to object to the perceived outcome from this public hearing. Local media reporting would imply that it is all but guaranteed that this park will serve as the new home for West Salisbury Little League with the public almost entirely behind it. This stands in contrast to the sentiments expressed during the meeting, where it was abundantly clear that the public showed a strong preference for dedicated soccer fields, rather than mixed-use fields shared with baseball.

For years we have operated under the belief that we were partners with Wicomico County Recreation and Parks. Wicomico County does not own or maintain fields for MRC, but our league has provided space for county programs at no cost. In Sharptown, we cut their grass and line their fields when needed. We have all sent referees and other volunteers when the county needs help. A representative of Wicomico County Recreation and Parks attends The Sharptown Recreation and Park’s monthly meetings. We have known this proposal was in development. It is disheartening that Wicomico County Recreation representatives assured us of their commitment to address our concerns. Meanwhile, the news report suggests that there was already a plan in place that did not take our needs into account. When asked to see plans of the park, we were told that no one could see them before the public interest meeting. At the same time, they were being presented to other organizations in Wicomico County.

We commend the county for pursuing a diverse range of opinions during the initial planning stage. However, It is troubling that the private sports program was part of the planning process while local organizations had no input. This has led to a perception that the field will be dedicated to the private organization, which seems to undermine the intention of gathering diverse opinions. A concern that would appear to be reflected in the proposed design.

Six years ago, Wicomico County removed their last four dedicated soccer fields. They were removed from Henry S Parker Complex to build more baseball fields. Wicomico County finally has an opportunity to right this wrong. The Sharptown Recreation and Parks Commission, MRC, and The Hebron Recreation Committee urge the county to consider the strong public interest in dedicated soccer fields when finalizing plans for this park.