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Route 90 access, kayak racks focus of rec committee

Residents asked to attend, comment at SHA hearing

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

The Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Committee is urging Ocean Pines residents to turn out to the MDOT public hearing on Tuesday on the future of the Route 90 bridge, board liaison Amy Stevens said. Stevens added that the committee will make a point to bring up the need for better bike and pedestrian access in the area. FILE PHOTO

(June 16, 2022) The Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Committee is asking its members and Ocean Pines residents to provide input at the upcoming public hearing being held by MDOT-SHA on June 21, which will focus on the Route 90 bridge.

“(Our) committee recommends, as a whole, which will be submitted, to make access to and crossing 90 more pedestrian- and bike-friendly,” Committee Chair Patti Stevens said during the group’s meeting on Monday. “Route 90 access (at Route 589), we’d like to see them improve the ability to bike between North Gate and South Gate, which is very difficult to do (right now, among other improvements).

“We’ll recommend that MDOT consider ways to improve pedestrian access within and through our community when they redevelop the bridge,” she continued.

Also during the committee’s meeting, Stevens said so far, so good with Ocean Pines’ new kayak racks at the Swim and Racquet Club.

Stevens said that the 18 now-installed racks are booked through the season and officials are in the process of confirming that those who got in under the wire will indeed take those reservations.

“Based on that, how this season goes, we hope to build and install other racks at another location in Ocean Pines, perhaps next season,” Stevens said.

In less positive news, Ocean Pines did not win an AARP grant for trail improvements that would have been used on the Robin Hood trail and the South Pond/Route 90 trail.

“There were 3,000 applicants (vying for) 1,000 rewards,” Stevens said. “We hope to look for other funds from other (sources) to do some of the trail work (and improved) sign markings (we hoped to do).”

In addition, the May 21 community bike ride was a success, Stevens said, with 55 riders and 10 volunteers on hand. Volunteers included the fire police, who are firefighters who have been voluntarily trained as adjunct law enforcement and members of the Kiwanis Club.

The sunset paddle on May 22, the first Pines-sponsored paddle event, drew 12 participants for a leisurely paddle to the Route 90 bridge that started on St. Martins River by the Swim and Racquet Club. Laura Scharle from Delmarva Trails and Waterways led the excursion.

June 4 was National Trails Day and the community celebrated it with two walks that attracted people from outside Ocean Pines, many of whom had never walked a Pines trail before, Stevens said.

In new business, the committee discussed ideas for the vacant blacktop area at the Swim and Racquet Club that was formerly a tennis court. Ideas thrown around included ping pong, shuffleboard and four-square.

The Recreation and Parks Committee next meets on July 11.

This story appears in the print version of the Bayside Gazette on June 16, 2022.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article attributed quotes from Patti Stevens to Amy Peck. The article has been updated.