Open in App
Calvert Recorder

Southern Maryland invests in park infrastructure

By By Darryl Kinsey Jr., Caleb M. Soptelean and Marty Madden,


On June 16, area basketball players joined with state and Charles County officials to celebrate the completion of a new basketball court at Bensville Park in White Plains.

The event featured a free basketball clinic, a summer activity fair and games of knockout on the court that has already seen its fair share of games since it first opened in May.

Reception to the courts was warm even before the official start of activities, as a group of teens were shooting around on the multicolored surface before starting a full-court game amongst one another.

“It’s a joy to see the kids outside playing from everything we’ve been through in the pandemic and COVID,” said Doug Cornwell, Lackey High School basketball coach.

Tim Drummond, chief of parks for Charles County, said the idea for the new basketball court came from a request from county residents who wanted to see more courts at county parks.

The open area at the entrance of Bensville Park made a perfect location, but Drummond wanted to use it as an opportunity to make it “splash.”

“If you just build a regular court with asphalt and white lines it’s just average, and we wanted to go above and beyond,” Drummond said.

He connected with Shelton Hawkins, an art teacher at St. Charles High School, who started a competition between North Point and St. Charles high school students to come up with a design that incorporated the colors of all of the county’s seven public high schools.

“When you look at the court you see the blue and white for Lackey, the Carolina blue and blue for La Plata, you see the orange from McDonough ... everyone of them is represented on this court,” Drummond said.

Hawkins, who owns Play in Color, an organization dedicated to enhancing the design of basketball courts, painted the court with a design created by Liana Berry, a rising 11th grader at St. Charles High School. The design incorporates a basketball in the center surrounded by an eyeball with lines expanding out in all directions from the center.

Berry said she was ecstatic when her design was picked, and said it made her “really happy” to see players enjoying the park with her design on it.

Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins II (D) said the new court will be something that will benefit the entire community.

“This is an example of where our county is, recognizing the importance of having recreational facilities around our community,” Collins said.

The opening of Bensville Park comes as Charles begins to expand outdoor recreation activities in the county.

In April, the Wills Group Inc held its own paint day with members of the community to enhance the courts at Phoenix Run Park. An opening ceremony for the park was held on June 18 after rain forced the cancelation of the event on May 7.

Funds were also made available through Senate Bill 541 in the Maryland General Assembly to establish a park in the newly created Waldorf core zone.

Calvert parks see renovations

Several parks in Calvert County are undergoing renovations to facilities, according to Shannon Nazzal, director of the department of parks and recreation in Calvert County.

New restroom facilities are scheduled to open in July at Ward Farm Recreation and Nature Park in Dunkirk and Hallowing Point Park in Prince Frederick.

Entrance improvements on Route 231 at Hallowing Point Park are slated to begin later this summer.

A project to restore the Cove Point Park pool deck in Lusby is expected to start this September, while restoration work to the park’s stormwater conveyance system will begin in late July or early August.

Construction on a new clubhouse at the Chesapeake Hills Golf Clubhouse is scheduled to begin in August.

Park improvements in St. Mary’s

On June 7, St. Mary’s County commissioners heard about plans to improve Snow Hill Park in Mechanicsville from Arthur Shepherd, outgoing recreation and parks director.

The plan calls for the addition of a kayak launch and boat ramp to the site on the Patuxent River and the demolition of one of the three farm buildings on the current site.

Shepherd said during the meeting that two other buildings on the Mechanicsville site may remain and be repurposed for other uses.

The fiscal 2022 capital improvement plan included $3 million for the project, and an additional $3 million was provided in the fiscal 2023 plan.

A public hearing on the Snow Hill Park master plan was scheduled for June 28.

Lexington Park was also the site of recent upgrades to Lexington Manor Passive Park on South Coral Drive.

The passive-use park, along with neighboring John G. Lancaster Park, received new turf fields, playground and fitness equipment as well as a refurbished disc golf course, interpretive center and bathrooms.

Twitter: @DarrylSoMdNews, @CalebSoMdNews and @MartySoMdNews

Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment
Most Popular newsMost Popular

Comments / 0