Enjoying Easton’s Parks by Terry Callahan

With the arrival of warm weather comes preparation for summer outdoor activities and a busy time for those who implement community programs. For over thirteen years Lorraine Gould has been Director of the Easton Parks and Recreation Department. As such she has overseen existing facilities, implemented new programs, and adapted to the changes and challenges that have occurred with the priority of providing a safe, healthy environment for the community.
“Community involvement has been a wonderful asset in the parks. The Town of Easton has a community of people that will actively play a role in the parks. Just to name a few: various garden clubs, Project Idlewild, Project Blackboard, butterfly and flower gardens, a video/TV tower, an information board and a seated bench placed in various parks. There have been additional parks placed in the Town of Easton with more people utilizing them. The Rail Trail expansion is under way and more people are actively using it.”
As director, Lorraine has implemented summer youth sport camps in the North Easton Sports Complex and joins forces on additional community events. “Easton Parks and Recreation is very involved with community activities such as National Night Out that is held in Moton Park on the first Tuesday in August and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Basketball Tournament held on the Monday designated as Dr. King’s birthday,” says Lorraine. Additionally, the department works with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to earn their badges.
Lorraine’s initial reaction to the March 2020 shutdown was “Concern! What is going to happen? How will we be able to move forward and keep our park users safe?” Along with summer camps, use of the gazebo or pavilion for birthday parties, weddings, and reunions had to be shut down. “It would have been extremely hard to expect our youth participants to implement social distancing and mask wearing while actively playing. Since parks are outside, it was necessary to make sure the play equipment was power washed and signs placed reminding users of the play equipment, to wipe it down before and after use and wipe the child’s hands as well.”
For this summer, Lorraine says that hopefully they will be able to hold sport camps at the Sports Complex, possibly beginning in late June. The department hopes to reach out to participants through online registrations, radio and other media. Facility updates and renovations are ongoing. “We are in the process of placing a new 5 to 12-year play area in Moton Park in the very near future, lights have been installed on two more fields at the Sports Complex, a bridge and trail added to the Easton Point/Glenwood Avenue area and the Rotary Club did a wonderful addition to the gazebo and flagpole area in Idlewild Park.”
Easton provides many opportunities for community members to enjoy outside. Presently, Lorraine oversees fifteen outdoor open space areas. All play areas are Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and open dawn to dusk. Open space areas include passive (mini) parks such as Thompson Park in downtown Easton and neighborhood parks with play structures for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12 years. These parks can be found in many Easton neighborhoods, among them Waylands, Stoney Ridge, Golton, and Chapel East.
She also oversees the larger community parks, Moton Park and Idlewild Park. Along with children’s play areas, these parks have additional structures and host a variety of community events. Idlewild Park includes a 0.25-mile track, ball fields, courts for basketball and tennis, picnic tables, flower gardens and more. Moton Park amenities include basketball and volleyball areas, free play open space, and a large pavilion with picnic tables.
The RTC Park provides options that include a 0.4-mile walking track with three exercise stations, educational stations with facts on animal habitats, trees or bugs, multi-purpose playing fields and a Tot Lot.
Looking back to the past months, Lorraine reflects on those unique challenges. “This is something I hope we never have to go through again. We have got to be proactive in our day-to-day tasks, stay safe and do what is necessary to take care of ourselves and each other. Easton Parks and Recreation Department along with all of the departments throughout the Town of Easton will continue to work to maintain safe, healthy parks for families.”
All parks have posted park rules. Pets are only permitted on the Rails-to-Trails paths and in the RTC park and owners are reminded to pick up after their pets.
For updates on reserving park areas, including playing fields and other facilities, and more information on park programs and registration, contact Lorraine Gould at Easton Parks and Recreation, (410) 822-2525, ext. 400 or lgould@eastonmd.gov.