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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Recreation & Parks Committee looks at kayak storage, playgrounds in Ocean Pines

By Greg Ellison

(June 24, 2021) Kayak storage and the possibility of creating a special kind of playground was the focus of the Ocean Pines Recreation & Parks Committee last Monday.

Committee Chairman Steve Cohen said a new kayak storage rack has been ordered.

“We’re going to hang them temporarily by the Swim and Racquet Club,” he said.

The location is where outside business Ayers Creek Adventures once stored kayaks.

Cohen said the storage rack was ordered over a month ago with delivery anticipated in short order.

“It’s going to be for multiple kayaks,” he said.

The initial hanging rack would accommodate 18 kayaks with plans to build another unit after completing the environmental studies required by the state for wetland areas.

“Once we get the permits we’re going to move them to the land,” he said.

Based on public response, Cohen said the storage option is sorely needed in the community.

“There’s tons of people that are in kayaks, everywhere from kids to adults,” he said. “We haven’t even put them up yet and we have a waiting list.”

Cohen said residents could rent storage space annually, based on availability, and would be required to provide their own locks.

“If it works out here, we’re going to go to other places to put other racks up,” he said.

The committee also discussed potential development plans at Bainbridge Park.

“It’s all in the preliminary stage but we’re talking about putting an inclusion park there,” he said.

Inclusive playgrounds cater to youths of all abilities, including the intellectually challenged or physically handicapped, to provide accessible physical, sensory, and social experiences.

Progress is unlikely until at least this fall, when the Bainbridge Pond drainage project wraps up and summer camps operated by Ocean Pines wind down.

Cohen said discussions with the Board of Directors and the Worcester County Commissioners have been encouraging.

“They’re all in favor of doing it,” he said.

Bainbridge is one potential site but the end location has yet to be determined, Cohen said.

“That’s one of the places they’re looking at to build this inclusion park because there’s nothing in the whole county for the intellectually challenged … or physically handicapped,” he said.

Besides plotting location, other planning includes selecting adaptable playground equipment options.

“We need to figure out what we can put there,” he said.

Funding questions also remain unanswered, with Cohen estimating costs could reach up to half-a-million dollars.

“It’s going to have to be a private and public enterprise raising money in the community and talking to people,” he said.

Regardless of price, inclusion parks have become a common sight elsewhere in the state.

“You go across the bridge and it seems like every county has one,” he said.

In other instances, municipalities have donated parcels of land for inclusion playground projects.

Typically, civic organizations sponsor the efforts and go about fundraising endeavors.

“There’s one in Roanoke sponsored by Kiwanis,” he said. “It took them five or six years.”

Cohen said inclusion parks also include attractions for both hearing and sight-impaired individuals.

“First of all you need a ground surface that wheelchairs can go on,” he said.

Based on comparable playgrounds in Maryland and other states, Cohen said options abound.