Mary­del park to be ded­i­cated April 29

Times-Record - - NEWS -

MARY­DEL — There’s a com­mon say­ing around the of­fices of the Caro­line County Depart­ment of Recre­ation and Parks: “It takes at least 10 years to build a park here.” In the case of Mary­del Com­mu­nity Park, the depart­ment has beaten its own dead­line.

A ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Satur­day, April 29, at the park at 18455 Le­pore Road, Mary­del. Fol­low­ing the official rib­bon cut­ting, there will be re­fresh­ments, soc­cer chal­lenges and disc golf.

Caro­line County pur­chased the land for the park in 2008.

“It was a farm field,” said Di­rec­tor Sue Sim­mons, “but I knew it would make a great park for this north­ern part of the county.”

The county pur­chased 25 acres from Marjorie Knight Clements with a grant from the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Pro­gram Open Space fund.

For the next seven years, the prop­erty re­mained in agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, the lease funds saved to be used to help lever­age ad­di­tional grant funds for park de­vel­op­ment. Dur­ing those years, Sim­mons, the county’s vol­un­teer Recre­ation and Parks ad­vi­sory board, com­mu­nity mem­bers and elected of­fi­cials in the Town of Mary­del and other staff worked on a park mas­ter plan and a fund­ing plan.

With the park de­sign and engi­neer­ing plans com­pleted in late 2014, the Town of Mary­del was able to com­pete for a Com­mu­nity Parks and Play­ground grant for $193,000. This grant, along with the agri­cul­tural lease rev­enues, an al­lo­ca­tion from the county’s cap­i­tal bud­get and ad­di­tional grant funds meant “all the pieces were there,” Sim­mons said.

The mayor and coun­cil of Mary­del and the county com­mis­sion­ers of­fi­cially broke ground Nov. 30, 2015. Over the next year and a half, the farm field trans­formed into a com­mu­nity park. There is a paved onethird of a mile walk­ing trail around a reg­u­la­tion size soc­cer field/mul­tipur­pose field, and an­other three-quar­ters of a mile in mowed grass trails through a nine-hole disc golf course.

While the park of­fi­cially opens on Satur­day, many lo­cal res­i­dents are al­ready walk­ing and driv­ing to use the park’s ameni­ties.

Mark Lasocha, park di­vi­sion su­per­vi­sor, has been spend­ing a lot of time out at the park putting in the fin­ish­ing touches. He’s met a few of the peo­ple who are al­ready com­ing to use it.

“I talked to one lady who is walk­ing on the track reg­u­larly to build up her strength af­ter a stroke,” Lasocha said.

He’s also met kids who live within walk­ing dis­tance who are vis­it­ing the park, and as soon as the soc­cer goals were set up, pick up games were quick to start.

While disc golf cer­tainly is not as well-known as tra­di­tional golf, it has a grow­ing fol­low­ing. Ac­cord­ing to the Pro­fes­sional Disc Golf As­so­ci­a­tion, it is played like tra­di­tional golf, but in­stead of a ball and clubs, play­ers use a fly­ing disc or Fris­bee.

The game has been around since the 1970s, and there is an 18-hole course at Tuck­a­hoe State Park. This is the first course in a county-owned park.

“This is go­ing to be a great course for peo­ple who haven’t played be­fore,” said Stacy Seward, pro­gram ser­vices su­per­vi­sor. “All but one hole are par 3 with clear sight lines and not too great dis­tances.”

Fol­low­ing the ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony, Seward and other depart­ment staff will be on hand with discs to play a round or two with those in­ter­ested in learn­ing to play.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Luke and Jake Lasocha try the new walk­ing trail at Mary­del Com­mu­nity Park dur­ing an ear­lier stage of con­struc­tion. The park now in­cludes a mul­tipur­pose field and a play­ground as well as the walk­ing trail and disc golf course.

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