County making upgrades to Winterplace Carriage House

By the end of July, restoration of the Carriage House at Winterplace Park should be finished, complete with freshly painted white doors and architecturally pleasing dome.

At the corner of Winterplace Parkway and Blue Ribbon Road, the steel structure, built around 1960, was renovated because, “the condition was keeping people away,” said Chuck Poole, superintendent of parks for Wicomico County.

“It was an eyesore. There was a lot of interest in getting it made into something. We are keeping the Carriage House doors and we will put lanterns on them to keep it looking the same. All the windows, doors, the sides and the roof have been repaired. The cupula is going back up,” Poole said.

He was referring to the domelike structure on the roof, historically used for ventilation or to allow more light, as well as for aesthetic value.

“Structurally, the building is in fantastic shape. It’s been sitting there for years. What we decided to do is, to replace all the windows and all the doors and to paint the sides and roof. We’re weatherproofing the building so it becomes sealed, so there are no more leaks, and we’re  repairing any damage we find,” Poole explained.

County council members added upgrades to its Capital Improvement Plan, known as the CIP, and work  began in early June. The  cost is $180,000.

Years ago, Poole said, the Carriage House was used as an indoor riding rink. Winterplace Park was an equestrian center in the 1960s and early 1970s and the Carriage House offers about 19,000 square feet for riding.

Today, it’s open space used for farm and home show displays, but there are many more possible uses, even though there are no restrooms or running water inside. Originally, it was served by a well, which is no longer good, and the septic system can’t be used, Poole said.

Winterplace Park has the largest recreational area in the county, according to its Web site, with more than 377 acres.

Among events there are Pork in the Park, Delmarva Bike Week and the Wicomico Farm and Home Show.

Also used for sports and recreation, the park has a walking and cross country trail, pavilion, restrooms, playground, two softball fields, four baseball fields, two soccer and lacrosse fields, two tennis courts and two volleyball courts Also, the Wicomico Equestrian Center is located there.

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