Georgetown is looking to develop new recreational opportunities for town residents, including possibly revisiting a 2005 proposal to redesign the North Bedford Street Park.
Town Council is expected to appoint a committee, possibly at its July 25 meeting, that would be tasked with re-examining the North Bedford park proposal and exploring other active recreation opportunities around town.
“The purpose of the committee will be to look at the possibilities out there, the feasibility of investing in improving those areas and searching for money to make those improvements,” said Town Councilwoman Linda Dennis, who first proposed the formation of such a committee at the town’s July 11 meeting.
Her suggestion followed the introduction of a proposed ordinance that seeks to bar residents from playing games on town streets.
No fines or penalties are included in the proposed ordinance, which is expected to come up for a final vote at the July 25 Town Council meeting.
“Anyone who has spent time driving in our neighborhoods understands that you’re dodging kids in the summertime when school is out,” Town Councilwoman Sue Barlow said last week. “[On July 10] I was visiting a friend on Front Street when I saw two boys and their little white dog playing in the street. A car hit the dog and it easily could have been one of those kids.”
Town Manager Gene Dvornick said residents on Pine Street also have complained about children playing basketball in the roadway.
“I think we need a group to explore the possibility of offering adequate playground spaces where these kids can play,” Dennis said.
She noted that seven years ago the town paid a Dover-based architectural firm $4,000 to develop a conceptual drawing for upgrades at North Bedford Street Park that included improved lighting, paved walkways, an amphitheater and other amenities.
That plan never came to fruition, however, due to a lack of funding and concerns raised by members of the adjacent Georgetown Presbyterian Church, which leases the parkland to the town for $1 per year.
“I think interest in the project has come full circle,” Dennis said of the defunct proposal. “I think it’s time to revisit it and see what parts will work and then, maybe, prioritize what we would like to see done there.”
The Rev. Michael Williams, pastor at Georgetown Presbyterian, said he and his parishioners would likely support some improvements at the park.
“We see it as a real asset to the community now and I believe it has the potential to be an even bigger asset in the future,” he said. “But, there are also some issues that would need to be looked at, although I think we would be willing to discuss them.”
Williams said any proposed improvements would need to leave room for the future expansion of the church and preserve a portion of open space so it can continue to be used as a sports field and as the site of the Georgetown Farmer’s Market, among other events.
Page 2 of 2 - “There are other issues regarding the use of our parking lot and accommodating the groups and organizations that use our facilities,” Williams said. “But as long as we are a part of the conversation from the start, I think we could find a way to make it work for everyone involved.”
Members of town council said they also would like the recreation committee to explore developing other sites around town, including possible pay-to-play basketball courts near the Little League fields on Lewes-Georgetown Highway and little used tennis courts owned by the Indian River School District on East Laurel Street.
“We all tell our kids to go outside and play, but the truth is, a lot of them don’t have a safe place to play,” Mayor Mike Wyatt said. “I think anything that has to do with kids having a safe place to play, we owe it to ourselves and the town to do it.”
Anyone interested in serving on the recreation committee is asked to call Town Clerk Angie Townsend (302) 856-7391.