Recreation, Parks and You!

History of the Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Department

In the 1950's, Wicomico became the second county in Maryland to establish a Recreation & Parks Department. By 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. 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.  

Wicomico Civic Center Fire in 1977

Wicomico County's first parks were established in the 1960's as three properties were acquired to provide swimming areas for local residents. In the 1970's, with funding from 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. This growth continued into the 1980's, and included the preservation of the 260-acre tract of land, which is today Pemberton Historical Park.

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

Currently, the County's Parks Division operates 39 facilities encompassing over 1400 acres of land, while the Recreation Division runs numerous programs for the community. 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.

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