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Smithsburg seeks input on developing new section of Veterans Park

March 18, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG — he state recently approved $12,600 for the Town of Smithsburg to plan development of a new section of Veterans Park, and now town officials want to know what residents would like to see at the park, Mayor Mildred “Mickey” Myers said Monday.

The town bought 2.52 acres adjacent to the northeast side of Veterans Park in 2008 for $140,000 from the Kline family, according to town officials and Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation online records.

The Maryland Board of Public Works granted approval for the $12,600 in Program Open Space funds during its March 6 meeting, according to the board’s website and an email from James W. “Chip” Price, director for Program Open Space grants.

The town has $1,400 in its operating budget for the local share of the $14,000 project, Myers said.

Once the town receives formal notice of the state board’s approval, a public hearing will be scheduled to give residents an opportunity to share what they think should be done with the 2.5 acres, Myers said.

Residents also can contact Myers at Town Hall or by emailing her at ml.myers@myactv.net to share their ideas, she said. They also can comment at a Parks and Improvement Commission meeting. The next commission meeting is scheduled for April 8 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Depending on the ideas for the land, town officials will determine what kind of professional needs to be hired to help create a concept plan and determine what is doable for the area, Myers said. The recently approved funding would pay for that expertise and the town would need to apply for further funding for the actual development of the land, she said.

The 2.5 acres is now a field with a small white building in a corner. The field is bordered on the southeast side by a dead-end alley. A tree line runs between the new acreage and the rest of the park, which now totals almost 33 acres, Myers said.

A youth baseball group expressed an interest in having a field on the land about two years ago, but the particulars couldn’t be worked out, Myers said.

Veterans Park, which fronts West Water Street, has multipurpose fields, a basketball court, a baseball field, two large pavilions, playground areas, a memorial garden, and several smaller picnic pavilions along a walking trail, Myers said. The park is home to the Smithsburg branch of the Washington County Free Library.

The town soon will request bids for electrical upgrades for the two large pavilions, Myers said.

Earlier this year, town officials submitted a request for $40,000 in Program Open Space funding to the Washington County Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, Myers said. If granted by the state next year, the money would be used to upgrade playground areas at Lions Community Park, she said. The town would need to provide $4,500 toward that project, she said.

The town owns Lions Community Park, which is off Bikle Road north of Smithsburg.

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