by Lisa Tome
By the end of October or early November, some of the turf wars in Cecil County should be on their way to ending.
Plans for the 112-acre Calvert Regional Park, Routes 272/273, just north of Rising Sun High School, are coming together.
"The first field that will be in is the synthetic turf field," said Clyde Van Dyke, County Director of Parks and Recreation.
That field will replace the current crop of soybeans which will be harvested early in October. But before that can be completed, the stormwater, sediment/erosion control plans, construction entrance, and rough grade parking lot will be put in.
Once it's completed, football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and rugby can be played on that field, which will be the first synthetic turf field in the county.
"This park has brought awareness that we are trying to improve the quality of life in Cecil," said Van Dyke.
Van Dyke wants park users to know that there will be displacements due to the construction. Some lacrosse teams will play at Bard Cameron. Other changes will be likely.
The park has received a pledge of $125,000 in state funding. The project is also receiving $346,000 from the State's Program Open Space Funding. Van Dyke said the requested funds for each of the three phases of work is $2.5 million. A non-profit organization is also being set up to help fund the park. Businesses will be given the opportunity to sponsor park amenities.
For Calvert's Regional Park, annual revenue is anticipated to be $77,000 to be generated from field usage. With that number in mind, the park would be paid off after seven years. Van Dyke said that the location of the park is ideal. "We are 50 minutes from Baltimore and 50 minutes from Philly. We are 40 minutes from Lancaster (which recently became home to USA field hockey). The University of Delaware wants to have camps and showcases here," he said.
While the fields may be reserved for league play, Van Dyke explained that some parts of the park will always be open to the public - the paved walking trail, basketball court, and playground.
"I want this to become a hub of community pride. We've (teams) have always had to travel because Cecil County didn't provide the facilities here. We're going to get it done quickly but make sure it's first class and done right," added Van Dyke.