By Greg Ellison
(April 1, 2021) The Ocean Pines Board agreed to investigate building a handicapped-accessible playground, while also approving maintenance repairs at the Racquet Sports Complex, and offering membership access to recent ethic reports during its March 20 meeting.
President Larry Perrone said board members were emailed the day prior regarding a proposal to expand recreational options for physically challenged children and adults.
“Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks is looking at establishing a handicapped playground … to help provide … activities for wheelchair-bound individuals,” he said.
While still in its infancy, Perrone said Recreation and Parks Director Debbie Donahue is conducting preliminary design research for an outdoor facility to accommodate special needs individuals with access for mobility devices.
Perrone also broached the topic with Worcester County Commissioners Chip Bertino and Jim Bunting during groundbreaking for the Bainbridge Park drainage project on March 17.
“They had asked me what else were we going to do with Bainbridge Park,” he said.
Perrone acknowledged the site was one area under consideration for a new playground intended for the physically challenged.
“The County Commissioners were very excited and enthused,” he said.
Besides enthusiasm, Perrone said funding insights were also conferred.
“We were encouraged by the commissioners to seek Worcester County and Maryland funding because this will be an expensive project,” he said.
With county officials appearing supportive, Perrone also probed the board for general consensus.
“At this point it’s preliminary but I wanted to get board consensus that we continue to explore the possibility of doing a handicapped playground,” he said.
Director Camilla Rogers asked if data regarding community need would be gathered during the investigative stage.
Perrone said further details are needed but also highlighted seasonal population variations.
“It would benefit handicapped people residing in Ocean Pines and also those who visit on vacation in summer,” he said. “The county itself does not have a facility like this.”
Director Doug Parks concurred with the proposal.
“We should pursue it, especially if other funding sources exist,” he said.
Rogers also voiced support and noted that outside of access to aquatic facilities, Ocean Pines offers few other amenity options for special needs individuals.
The board voted unanimously to continue exploring the proposal.
Looking at current facilities, the board approved a request from General Manager John Viola to spend roughly $35,000 to repair court cracks at the Racquet Sports Complex.
Viola said Delmar-based Terra Firma was the lowest bidder for resurfacing and striping repairs at several pickleball and tennis courts.
Work scope at courts 1,2,4 and 6 also includes applying color coat to repair areas.
Turning to internal matters, Perrone announced Pines homeowners could now request summarized reports for either of two recent association investigations related to resolution B-08 ethic complaints against sitting directors.
“Those reports are done and they will be available by emailing or coming to the admin office,” he said.
Association members can request a report by emailing Senior Executive Assistant Michelle Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.