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Governor Ehrlich Announces BPW Approval of $879,483 in Program Open Space and Rural Legacy Funds for Maryland Counties
Funds go to park projects and a 71-acre conservation easement
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Underscoring his commitment to support county park and conservation projects, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. recently announced Board of Public Works approval of $879,483 in Program Open Space and Rural Legacy funds for Allegany, Anne Arundel, Caroline, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, and Washington Counties.
The Board is composed of Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.
“Today, funds were allocated for recreation projects, parkland acquisitions, and land-use planning,” said Governor Ehrlich. “I am pleased that our approvals also included funding for a conservation easement that helps to preserve our rural heritage.”
A total allocation of $879,483 will fund twelve projects in nine counties:
- Allegany County: The Board approved $15,000 in Program Open Space funds to renovate the community playground at Cresaptown Elementary School. This first phase of the project includes installing safety fencing, resurfacing the basketball court, and replacing the existing unsafe playground equipment with modular sets that are accessible to handicapped users.
- Allegany County: The Board approved $3,000 in Program Open Space funds to replace the retaining wall at Barton Memorial Park in the town of Barton. Severe weather during the past few years damaged the wall, making the structure unsafe.
- Anne Arundel County: The Board approved $150,350 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 6 acres on Patuxent Road for off-road parking along the Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis (WB&A) Trail between Odenton and the Patuxent River. The shoulders of this rural road are too narrow to accommodate safe parking, and no other appropriate sites are available on this trail segment. The trail, which follows the bed of the old WB&A Railroad, is intended for walking, jogging, cycling, rollerblading, and horseback riding.
- Caroline County: The Board approved $2,494 in additional Program Open Space funding to complete the resurfacing of the Preston tennis courts, located behind Preston Elementary School. The surface cracks caused by the freeze-thaw cycle will be repaired by applying a layer of asphalt over a layer of stone dust.
- Dorchester County: The Board approved $6,750 in Program Open Space funds to grade and resurface the basketball court on Glasgow Street in Cambridge and to install benches along the sidelines. The facility, adjacent to the Busick Tennis Court Complex, is used extensively during spring, summer, and fall months.
- Garrett County: The Board approved $25,000 in Program Open Space funds to cover most of the cost of preparing the Garrett County 2005 Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, a planning project required by state law.
- Garrett County: The Board approved $136,042 in Rural Legacy funds to acquire a conservation easement on 71 acres of wooded and agricultural land on the Bender farm, located north of Deep Creek Lake in the Bear Creek Rural Legacy Area. This acquisition protects woodland, farmland, and wildlife habitat and helps to preserve the scenic view in the area. Additionally, the easement agreement stipulates that the timber on the property will be managed and harvested in accord with the Forest Stewardship Plan. Garrett County will hold the easement title.
- Kent County: The Board approved $7,000 in Program Open Space funds to help the town of Galena purchase and install playground equipment at the new Galena Community Park. The park, built on 2 acres of donated land, is located in the Dogwood Village subdivision, which consists of more than 100 new residences.
- Montgomery County: The Board approved $480,000 in Program Open Space funds to acquire14 acres for Unit 8 of the 1,701-acre Great Seneca Stream Valley Park. Unit 8 currently contains 107 acres. Public use of this parcel of fallow farmland east of Great Seneca Creek between Woodfield School Road and Hawkins Creamery Road will be limited to hiking, horseback riding, and nature study. This acquisition prevents the development of four home sites, avoids damage to the creek from the bridging that would be required for an access road to the lots, and preserves the visual appeal and undeveloped condition of this natural area.
- Queen Anne’s County: The Board approved $30,447 as a second phase of Program Open Space funding to acquire 11 acres adjacent to Grasonville Park. This expansion of the park will allow a walking trail to be added. This acquisition prevents residential development and preserves the existing woodland, which serves as wildlife habitat and buffers tributaries flowing into Marshy Creek and the Chesapeake Bay.
- Washington County: The Board approved $23,400 in Program Open Space funds to construct a gravel roadway and parking lot to accommodate users of the softball field and the new multipurpose field at Veteran’s Park in the town of Smithsburg. This project is part of the plan to develop the park to meet the needs of a growing town population, which has nearly doubled since 1990.
DNR’s Program Open Space is a nationally recognized program that provides funding for Maryland’s state and local parks and conservation areas. More than 4,600 county and municipal park and conservation projects have been completed through the program, improving the quality of life for millions of Marylanders.
The Rural Legacy Program is designed to preserve large blocks of contiguous open space that are among Maryland’s most valuable lands because of their multiple agricultural, forest, natural, and cultural resources. To protect these resources, the Rural Legacy Program acts through local governments and private land-trust sponsors to purchase conservation easements from willing property owners.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to Maryland citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 435,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, as well as Maryland's wildlife and fishery species for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, the department manages natural, historic and cultural resources that attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov