by Lisa Tome
The crack of the bat and the squish of the mud.
Clyde Van Dyke, County Director of Parks and Recreation, weighed in on field conditions at the county parks and playing fields recently.
At Conowingo Park, the baseball and lacrosse fields are seeing lots of use. He said that people are also using the walking trail despite the fact that paving of that trail is pending. People are also using that park for bird watching.
At the Cecil Sports Complex at Bard Cameron, the fields are not ready yet. "We're waiting for the grass to pop in. We're waiting for that at all the parks - the grass to start growing. If we let people play on the fields before the grass starts growing you'll have dirt," said Van Dyke.
Calvert Regional Park has the luxury of having turf field surface. "They've been used since March 1 and the grass fields will open the first to the middle of April. There have been a lot of walkers out there," he said.
Both playgrounds have been finished during the off season and the ADA walkways are coming. There have been some issues installing the basketball courts at the county's newest park. He said he's hoping that by mid May the basketball courts will be finished and ready to use.
"That park has been very well received. People use it all the time. When it's in its totality, it will meet all of our expectations. We'll be asking for the funding for phase two. That funding is crucial and not just for sports tourism," he said. That funding, if received, will pay for more walking trails and paved parking lots. When it comes to sports tourism, the park will be in use for league play which brings in tourism dollars. Already, tournaments are scheduled and two are set for both June, July, October, and November. Van Dyke said more may be on the horizon.
The grass fields at Calvert park won't be in use during July and August. "The grass fields are being rested in July and August. If we don't rest them, we won't have grass," he said, saying that the process of resting fields in similar to farmers using crop rotation.
Cecil Arena gets heavy use year round.
"The arena was busy all winter. We had youth lacrosse on the outdoor fields and they are also using Calvert," he said.
Chesland, is Cecil's undeveloped park land. That acreage is used for league play. "All we do is mow it," he said.
The ball fields at the Cecil Community Center are also in use as of last week. "We still have a field deficit," he said. Johnnie's field is also in use now and sees very busy activity during the summer months.
In addition to operating parks, Cecil also has two boat ramps - at Elk River and Stemmers Run. Both are in use now. Stemmers Run was saved from closure and is now being upgraded with new ladders, bumper guards, and more.