Recreation, Parks and You
Home About Us Links and Resources

History of the Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Department

The genesis of the Wicomico County Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Department began when a recreation commission was established shortly after World War II and the decision was made to create a living memorial to those who served their country in the war. Two separate concepts were combined: establishing recreation programs and facilities, and honoring the armed forces with a memorial that was more than just marble, metal and bricks. In 1947 property was donated by S. Franklin Woodcock to the County, which later became the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center.

In the 1950s the Department or Recreation and Parks was established, the second one in the State of Maryland. During those years utilizing the City of Salisbury, school, and church facilities the Department was able to offer indoor and outdoor programs to the youth and citizens of the County, including summer playground and sports activities. In addition, the Recreation Commission also worked with the City of Salisbury to help design, build, and improve city parks. In 1959, the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center was dedicated and quickly became the center of community activities.

Civic Center Fire in 1977

In the summer 1977 fire destroyed most of the WY&CC, but Salisbury community leaders, with the help of numerous donors and volunteers, rebuilt the facility bigger and better. Since the re-dedication in 1980 the WY&CC has been a center of community activities, concerts, special events and the home to the Recreation and Parks Department.

The first Wicomcio County parks were established in the 1960s as three properties were acquired to provide swimming areas for local residents. Lifeguards and swimming lessons were offered. In the 1970's, using the State of Maryland's Program Open Space the Recreation & Parks Department began in earnest to build the Wicomico County Parks system. Partnering with local groups who contributed funds, talent, and sweat equity, park facilities sprung up in the local communities of Sharptown, Mardela, Delmar, Willards, and Pittsville. The 1970s and 1980s also saw the parks department begin to address the need for athletic fields, local playgrounds, and community parks; in addition they saved a large property from development to be used as a 234 acre historical park called Pemberton Historical Park.

Currently the County Parks Division operates 39 facilities encompassing over 1400 acres of land, while the Recreation Division runs numerous programs with enrollment totaling 8400. The facilities, currently valued at over $32 million were built at a cost of approximately $3 million in local money. They include 32 ball fields, 34 tennis courts, 18 basketball courts, 20 playgrounds, 17 pavilions, 8 boat ramps, and 212 boat slips.

In 1982 the first 5 year plan was put together for Wicomico County Recreation & Parks. This State mandated Land Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plan (LPPRP) was necessary in order to be eligible for state grant funds. The LPPRP is incorporated into the County-wide master plan.

In 1997 the County combined the operations of their indoor stadium (Civic Center), recreation, parks, and tourism divisions to create a new Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism. Combined with Enterprise Budgeting this partnership has allowed a pooling of resources to provide a better, more varied, and efficient delivery of service to their customers.

 

Current Programs and News

Governor's Challenge Basketball Tournament

The Governor's Challenge High School Basketball Tournament will return to the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center on December 26 & 27, 29 & 30. This year's event will feature a new DMVelite Showcase and an Inaugural Girl's Division. Tickets are on sale now! Read More




Indoor Community Yard Sale

Clean out your house and fill up your wallet! Wicomico Recreation will hold its annual Indoor Community Yard Sale at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center on Saturday, January 3. Table and booth rentals are available now. Read More




Youth & Adult Chess Tournaments

Castling! Crowning! Registration is now open for Wicomico Recreation's Youth & Adult Chess Tournaments. The youth tournament will be held on February 6, the adult tournament will be held on February 7. Test your skills and be the first to say "Checkmate!" Read More



Banner

For advertising information, contact us

Locate A Park or Facility

Search Parks

Search our parks to find the perfect setting for your next outing in Wicomico County.

Search Parks

TAKE OUR PARK SURVEY


Facebook Twitter Youtube

Banner

For advertising information, contact us

Program Registration Online

Program Registration

Whenever possible we offer an online registration option for our recreation programs.

Register Today

Join Our Mailing List

Sign-up for our email announcements to receive information about the latest recreation programs and sporting events.

 

Salisbury Weather Forecast

Current
34°F
Salisbury MD Weather Today
Mon
42°F
Salisbury MD Weather Tomorrow
Tue
55°F
Salisbury MD Weather 2-day