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Governor Martin O’Malley Announces BPW Approval of 275-Acre Purchase to Create Vienna
Board also approves 2 Rural Legacy projects and 9 local recreation projects
ANNAPOLIS — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works has approved the purchase of more than 275 acres to help establish a greenbelt around the western and southern borders of the Town of Vienna. The $4.6 million purchase, funded through the State’s Program Open Space, will ensure Vienna continues to be surrounded by farms, forests and natural wildlife habitat — a goal outlined in the town’s comprehensive plan.
“Mayor Russ Brinsfield and Vienna residents have an extraordinary vision of how they want their town to develop, balancing growth while protecting the town’s unique rural and historic character,” said Governor O’Malley. “Vienna’s approach to sustainable growth serves as a model for communities throughout Maryland.”
The purchase of two farmland tracts will also serve to safeguard the adjacent Mill Creek Natural Heritage Area and a wetland of special state concern. Both the heritage area and the wetland contain several rare and endangered plant species.
“The people of Vienna got together and decided our real treasures were the Nanticoke River and the farms and forestlands surrounding us, and we didn’t want to see them disappear through over-development,” Brinsfield said. “This acquisition by the state ensures that future growth is complementary to the fabric of our community.”
The Vienna Greenbelt is one of the first project rated under the state’s new Land Conservation Targeting system. It received an exceptional ecological score and is located within both High Priority Conservation and Annual Focus Areas. The new ecologically based targeting approach was developed last year under the direction of Governor O’Malley to ensure the state is protecting its most strategically important landscapes to provide a lasting legacy for future generations.
“Working together, the state and the town are implementing a strategy that will safeguard wildlife habitat, provide increased buffer to protect the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, and protect rare and threatened species within the Natural Heritage Area,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin. “This is exactly the type of site our new targeting system is intended to identify.”
The Board of Public Works also approved more than $1.5 million in local Program Open Space funding for construction and improvements at local stadiums, parks, and recreation centers in five counties:
Allegany County will receive $700,000 for high school stadium projects, including $350,000 for construction of the Mountain Ridge High School stadium in Frostburg and $350,000 to renovate the Greenway Ave. stadium, which serves two high schools in Cumberland.
Baltimore County will receive $638,234 to design and construct artificial turf fields at Meadowood Regional Park, Northwest Regional Park, and the Community College of Baltimore County – Essex Campus.
Carroll County will receive $83,835 for improvements at three park locations, including: $31,500 to install an open air pavilion at Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center in Manchester; $13,500 to construct two dugouts on an athletic field in Manchester; and $38,835 for improvements to the gatehouse and boathouse at Piney Run Park in Sykesville.
Frederick County will receive $75,000 for improvements at two City of Brunswick facilities, including: $37,500 for renovations to the Brunswick municipal pool and boathouse; and $37,500 to install playground and other improvements at Brunswick sports complex.
Montgomery County will receive $25,000 to prepare master plans for Northwest Branch Recreational Park, countywide urban parks, and countywide park interpretive centers.
The Board also approved more than $1.3 million to preserve two tracts of land in Carroll County under the Rural Legacy Program, including: $474,465 to acquire 93.7 acres to serve as a conservation easement in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Area of Carroll County; and $871,240 to acquire 112.9 acres to serve as a conservation easement in the Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area of Carroll County.
Chaired by Governor O’Malley, the Board of Public Works is also comprised of Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.
Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW have preserved more than 2,501 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 323,320.94 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded Program Open Space.
More than 5,823 acres have been preserved under the Rural Legacy Program under the O’Malley administration.
June 11, 2008
Contact: Wiley Hall
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
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 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 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 12 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