No Deal for Land, Athletic Field Expansion in Wicomico County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

No Deal for Land, Athletic Field Expansion in Wicomico County

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The Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex on Naylor Mill Road in Salisbury. (Photo: WBOC) The Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex on Naylor Mill Road in Salisbury. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- The city of Salisbury was considering a land donation to Wicomico County. The countyhad plans to use the land to expand an athletic complex.  But the Salisbury City Council has decided against the donation, which means any expansion has been put on hold.

The City Council held a public hearing Monday night to hear concerns on an expansion to the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex on Naylor Mill Road. The complex already has four softball fields, a baseball field, and a handful of soccer fields.

The proposed expansion would have almost doubled that number. The fields would have been built on 63 acres forest land that Wicomico Environmental Trust Executive Director Barry Johansson said is land that should not be lost.

"The idea of it being near and removing a forest, which is so close to one of the prongs of a watershed really bothered me, that north prong. Because those trees and that forest really serve as a natural filter and we don't have much of that left in this county," said Johansson.

Johansson attended the public hearing Monday night and said many people spoke out against the fields on that specific forest land.

"Nobody is against the softball, its just that there must be other places to do this," Johansson said.

So, it is those "other places" to which leaders in Wicomico County must turn.  County officials tell WBOC that at this time, no specifics can be discussed, but the county is considering alternative locations for more athletic fields.  The goal is to build new fields in order to be able to host more and bigger athletic tournaments.  The athletic tournaments make up a large piece of the county's annual tourism revenue and officials say more fields could lead to a $13 million economic increase in the area.

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