Ocean City Today

Towns to divide Open Space grant

Nearly $500K allocated for Worcester County, up from almost $285K last year
By Brian Gilliland | Jun 22, 2017

(June 23, 2017) Worcester County government got word from the Department of Natural Resources this week that about $488,000 had been allocated in Program Open Space funds, which is more than a 71 percent increase from last year’s $284,000.

The county will be keeping about $408,000 of the grant for itself, and the remaining $80,000 will be divided equally among the municipalities.

The county and the towns each had to submit proposals on how to use requested funds on annual projects or land acquisition as part of the application for fiscal 2018.

Ocean City, for example, requested $3.9 million to pay for renovations at the Ocean Bowl and the downtown recreation complex, with no planned acquisitions. The other municipalities: Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke City, requested less but all of the requests exceeded the $20,000 mark to be distributed by the county.

However, on the county side, the annual projects— all proposed for the John Walter Smith Park adjacent to the Parks and Recreation headquarters in Snow Hill, could be fully funded with room to spare in the $182,000 request. The county also has two acquisition requests to expand the Northern Worcester Athletic Complex and Grey’s Creek Nature Park totaling $975,000.

The towns also have other opportunities, such as additional grants, to cover the costs of their projects.

Parks Director Paige Hurley gave no indication how the money will be spent.

According to the state’s annual budget highlight document, the increased funding is because of a reduction in the amount of transfer tax funds redirected to the state’s general fund.

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