On Tuesday morning the St. Mary’s County commissioners approved a recreation and parks department request for a memorandum of understanding with the Maryland Stadium Authority that would outline their role in a feasibility study of building a sports complex in the county.
In August, Rebecca Bridgett, St. Mary’s County administrator, requested that the Maryland Stadium Authority move forward and conduct a study to find out the benefits that a stadium complex would provide for the county after the commissioners approved transferring $52,000 to fund a market and economic analysis study. The county is solely responsible for the funding of the study.
Sen. Jack Bailey (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) has been working with the stadium authority to pursue the study to determine the viability of a stadium to accommodate youth/amateur leagues and tournaments, believing that it would be a great asset to the community.
The plan includes an indoor field house and nine multi-sport playing fields on county-owned property, four of which would be synthetic turf fields.
Crossroads Consulting Services will conduct the study to estimate the financial impacts and will be expected to do a market demand assessment and produce a summary of the findings. Following an initial meeting, residents can expect the study to be complete within four to five months, according to Arthur Shepherd, recreation and parks director.
The project, centered on tournament play scheduled in St. Mary’s, is expected to net additional revenue through the accommodation tax, as the stadium would attract out-of-town guests on weekends.
Local businesses would benefit, including hotels and restaurants, from the influx of people during tournaments.
The county commissioners also approved the recreation and parks department’s request for approval of a new policy that addresses public Wi-Fi use in county parks using a county network, separate from the local government’s administrative and public safety networks.
“We are taking steps to make sure the network is separate from county Wi-Fi and we are addressing unlawful conduct, it’s not authorized,” said Bob Kelly, the county’s IT director, adding that they are not naive and are aware that young children and teenagers will have access to the network. Staff are also planning on turning the Wi-Fi off at night to keep people from showing up at the parks after hours, he said.
In addition to the nine-field sports complex, the county also is planning the installation of three synthetic turf fields at Chancellor’s Run, Chaptico and Lancaster parks. Because the parks could be used as tournament sites in the future, there is a need to consider public Wi-Fi for guests. Public Wi-Fi is already available at Chancellor’s Run Regional Park.
“We have Wi-Fi in the main administration building on the fairgrounds. Are you working with the fair board to give them access to Wi-Fi?” asked Commissioner Todd Morgan (R).
“The answer is yes. We are ready to help get connectivity to other public buildings” in Leonardtown, Kelly said.