ELKTON — As the neighborhood community center on Booth Street take shape, Elkton officials have paused their plans for a park at the historic Elk Landing.
“We’re still going to move forward with the Elk Landing park, but right now it’s on the backburner,” Elkton Mayor Rob Alt told the Whig.
Last year, Alt secured an unanimous vote from the Historic Elk Landing Foundation board to turn the land that surround the two remaining structures of the colonial Elk Landing port into a park, with trails weaving through the property. The foundation agreed to release three parcels of land to the town only if it followed through on Alt’s proposal to open a park there.
Elk Landing, once upon a time, was the northernmost port in the Mid-Atlantic during the colonial years that was visited by founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at one point. It was established when Zebulon Hollingsworth bought land where the Little and Big Elk Creeks meet in the 18th century. British troops marched through there in 1777 and during the War of 1812 on their way to battle.
The mayor’s goal was to create three multi-purpose fields between the Hollingsworth House and the sewer treatment plant, leaving the Jon Hans Steelman Tavern, also known as the Stone House undisturbed. The hope is to develop a park on higher ground as Meadow Park frequently floods from the Big Elk Creek has forced events to cancel. He also hoped to use the opportunity for recreation officials to expand programs.
But the spotlight faded from the proposed Elk Landing Park once town officials broke ground on the neighborhood community center last July. For years, the commissioners have struggled to make the dream of an indoor recreation complex into a reality. Last year, Alt and the commissioners decided to move forward with the help of $800,000 in state Community Development Block Grant funds.
The Elk Landing park concept plan and grading has not been not completed, but the community center has begun to take shape with walls.
With the neighborhood center slated to open summer of 2020, Alt said that town officials will return to the proposed Elk Landing Park in the near future.
“I continue to say that Meadow Park could never be replaced, but we need to continue to develop outdoor recreation facilities that we can count on, as well as create more programs for adults and children,” he said.
Meanwhile, Elkton officials announced that the design on the replacement of 15 windows and three doors at the Stone House have been completed. Last year, the Historic Elk Landing Foundation received a $100,000 grant from the Maryland Historic Trust for professional services, labor and materials for the project.
Once the MHT approves the design, the long-awaited windows and doors on the Stone House can be constructed and installed.