By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(July 26, 2018) The new director of the Worcester County Recreation and Parks Department, Tom Perlozzo, vowed last week to end the department’s passive approach to managing its resources and to energize its pursuit of new possibilities.
“We are changing the direction of Worcester County Recreation and Parks,” he said last Thursday in Berlin. “We are going to reach out and be aggressively pursuing events and opportunities that enhance the quality of life throughout the municipalities in Worcester County.”
Perlozzo, attending a Berlin Falls Park Committee meeting, said he had talked to Berlin Town Administrator Laura Allen and was later introduced to Berlin Falls Park Coordinator David Deutsch.
Hired in March, Perlozzo was formerly the director of recreation and parks in Ocean City and also served on the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
“We do recognize the need for lots more things in Berlin,” he said. “I think you’ll see more of Worcester County Recreation and Parks in the near future here.”
Perlozzo said he had some knowledge of Berlin Falls, the 60-plus acre former industrial site purchased by the town in 2015, calling it “a very ambitious project, to say the least.”
“It’s very exciting and I’m more than happy to assist anyway we can,” he said. I’ve got some access to grants [and] know a few corporate sponsors.”
Committee members inquired about the county recreation and parks complex, a 47,000-square-foot center in Snow Hill that includes an indoor gym and track, space for meetings and after school activities, and five baseball, softball and multipurpose fields.
Perlozzo said programming there is designed to be accessible and affordable and, as a result, “most of our programs don’t break even.”
“However, the special events … are huge in the form of both revenue and economic benefits — heads in beds, hotels [and] job creation,” he said. “From that perspective, what you’re going to see is a lot more events, which will, in turn, allow us to continue to enhance the quality of life.”
Perlozzo was bullish on the idea of a similar indoor facility in northern Worcester County, perhaps at Berlin Falls.
“I personally believe that if you put an indoor facility in, it’s going to be filled up seven days a week,” he said. “If you have the right programming, right effort in place, I think the people are here.”
Asked about a partnership between the county and the town, he replied, “I think everything’s open.”
“You might want to think bigger picture,” Perlozzo said. “Maybe there’s another opportunity partnering with the Town of Ocean City, and Worcester County and Berlin for an indoor facility.”
He said a Maryland Stadium Authority study was recently amended “to include an indoor facility.”
“Obviously they don’t have any land [in Ocean City] to do that, so they would have to come west,” he said.
“You never know,” Perlozzo continued. “I think the next few months with the county is going to be important. We’ll have probably a better direction … we’ll see what happens.”
Berlin Councilman Troy Purnell, a committee member, added, “We’re waiting for our 47,000-square-foot facility. Tell the commissioners!”