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Governor Ehrlich Announces BPW Approval of $3.1 Million in Rural Legacy and Program Open Space Funds for Nine Maryland Counties
Projects support conservation and expand recreation opportunities
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval of $3,131,396 in Rural Legacy and Program Open Space funds for conservation easements, parkland and environmental acquisitions, and park development in nine Maryland counties.
“The projects funded today serve an array of worthy purposes,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Watershed and habitat protection, historical preservation, and outdoor recreation are among them.”
The Board is composed of Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.
A total allocation of $3,131,396 will fund 15 projects in nine counties:
- The Board approved $29,500 in Program Open Space funds to install a collapsible safety fence and pave the existing parking lot at Baker Memorial Park in the town of Midland. The PVC fence around the little league field will improve safety because it is designed to flatten to the ground should a player run into the fence. The paving will improve access for elderly and handicapped individuals. This field has been used as a ballpark since 1902.
- The Board approved $194,103 in Rural Legacy funds to acquire a conservation easement on 28 wooded acres near the county seat of Prince Frederick and in the Calvert Creeks Rural Legacy Area. The property is currently under a forest management plan for wildlife habitat and has a green-infrastructure rating of excellent. There has been a concerted effort by the county, the state, land trusts, and landowners to preserve the Parker’s Creek watershed, which is the largest relatively undisturbed ecosystem left on the western shore. This land lies within the watershed and is part of a greenbelt that extends from the Chesapeake Bay to the Patuxent River along Parker’s Creek and Battle Creek. This easement will help preserve the wilderness character of the area and the water quality of Parker’s Creek, which is a tributary of the Chesapeake. Calvert County will hold the easement title.
- The Board approved $772,891 in Rural Legacy funds to acquire a conservation easement on 116 acres of the Campbell Farm in the Calvert Creeks Rural Legacy Area. The property, which lies on a peninsula between the Patuxent River and St. Leonard Creek, is two-thirds wooded and one-third agricultural, and its green-infrastructure rating is excellent. This acquisition protects the rural character of the area and more than a mile of riparian buffers along a stream that drains into St. Leonard Creek. Calvert County will hold the easement title.
- The Board approved $538,606 in Rural Legacy funds to acquire the 153-acre Goldstein Farm in the Calvert Creeks Rural Legacy Area. The property, nearly all wooded and used for timber production in accord with a forest management plan, has a green-infrastructure rating of excellent. This acquisition provides for public access trails to adjacent state-owned land and protects water quality by maintaining 4,200 feet of forested buffers along streams that flow into Parker’s Creek. Calvert County will hold the title to the property.
- The Board approved $32,900 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 3.7 acres of partly wooded land on Nelpine Road to expand the adjacent half-acre park in Jonestown, a community one mile north of Preston. The park now serves as a playground, which is heavily used. This acquisition will enable the county to provide more recreational opportunities for the community. Plans include an expanded playground, paved playing courts, picnic pavilions, walking trails, and possibly a small community center.
- The Board also approved $64,187 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 35 acres on Linchester Road near Preston to expand an existing 14-acre park. The land is the millpond site formerly a part of the historic Linchester Mill, a gristmill built perhaps as early as 1847 and owned by the nonprofit Caroline County Historical Society. This acquisition reflects a collaborative partnership with the Historical Society, which hopes to restore the mill completely. This stream-valley site buffers Hunting Creek, a tributary of the Choptank River; its recreational potential includes fishing and trails for hiking.
- The Board approved $11,250 in Program Open Space funds to install decorative fencing at the Old Main Line Park in Sykesville. This quarter-acre park has been recently improved by installing a fountain, brick pavers, and park benches. The new fencing will enhance these features and the landscaping. Though small, the park provides needed green space downtown and a welcome place for residents, visitors, and shoppers to rest and relax.
- The Board also approved $7,500 in Program Open Space funds to build a gazebo at Bloomfield Park in Sykesville. At 3.5 acres, the park is the second largest one in town. A pathway and trees have already been installed; extensive additional landscaping and various small recreational improvements are planned. The town is developing Bloomfield Park to serve a growing community. For example, this part of Sykesville has more than 500 new homes.
- The Board approved $52,953 in Program Open Space funds as the third installment in acquiring 20 additional acres to expand Elk Landing Park in the town of Elkton. This acquisition complements an earlier purchase of a 42-acre tract that contains structures important in the history of Cecil County. This site at the convergence of Big and Little Elk Creeks played a key role in colonial shipping and commerce, and its preservation will stimulate local and regional tourism. Now used for agriculture, the land will provide additional open space and access to the creeks for residents, serve as a crucial link in Elkton’s Greenways Plan to parkland to the north, and preserve environmentally sensitive riparian areas. The town intends to request additional installments as funds become available.
- The Board approved $350,816 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 12.4 acres of the Remsberg Farm to establish a new park in the town of Middletown, which is five miles west of Frederick. The parcel is part of a town plan to purchase a total of 88 acres for recreational use. The primary purpose is to build playing fields for sports such as soccer, football, softball, baseball, and field hockey to accommodate the large number of families that dwell in Middletown. This acquisition precludes residential development and helps protect tributaries of Cone Branch, which drains into Catoctin Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River.
- The Board approved $124,990 in Program Open Space funds to acquire a 12.5-acre wooded site adjacent to the town of Myersville’s watershed property. This acquisition, located on Pleasant Walk Road a mile east of the South Mountain Natural Environment Area and the Appalachian Trail, will protect the town’s wellhead area from potential development, prevent water contamination, preserve forested land, and provide an area for passive recreation.
- The Board also approved $58,000 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 1.3 acres to establish Guyton Overlook Park off Cemetery Lane in the town of Burkittsville. This parcel, which will be developed as a passive park for relaxation, picnics, and community gatherings, will provide needed recreational space on the west side town, where there is none. The site offers outstanding views of Middletown Valley, farmland, and an important portion of the Civil War battlefield at Crampton’s Gap.
- The Board approved $660,000 in additional Program Open Space funds to complete the second phase of development of Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Park on Skylark Road outside of Clarksburg. The park contains 290 acres. This phase includes two softball fields, an agricultural-themed playground to reflect the history of the area, paved hiking trails, parking lots, an internal access road, storm-water management systems, and landscaping. The amount approved reflects construction costs that were higher than estimated.
Prince George’s County
- The Board approved $213,700 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 8.8 additional acres for the existing 40-acre park on Accokeek Road (Route 373) west of Route 5 in Brandywine. This is the second of three planned acquisitions, which in total will constitute Pleasant Springs Community Park, a new recreational facility meant to serve a rapidly growing population. These acquisitions will protect woods and agricultural land from residential development and will safeguard the buffered terrain around the headwaters of Burch Branch, a tributary of the Patuxent River.
- The Board approved $20,000 in Program Open Space funds to upgrade old and add new playground equipment at Taylor Park in the town of Keedysville. This project includes site work that is needed to install the equipment and to meet code requirements for safety. The two housing developments under construction and the two that are planned are expected to double the usage of the park.
Since assuming office, the Ehrlich Administration and its partners have invested more than $64 million to protect over 31,000 acres of land to help restore the Bay and its surrounding environment. With nearly one in every five acres permanently protected in Maryland, the state remains a national leader in land preservation.
June 16, 2005
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources 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