|Press Releases | Search DNR | DNR Home|
Governor O’Malley Announces Support for Local Park Improvements in Twelve Counties
Annapolis, Md. (February 18, 2009)— Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works approval of local-side Program Open Space funding for 25 local park and land acquisition projects in 12 counties.
“All projects funded through Program Open Space are made possible by a coordinated commitment – to conserve land and improve outdoor recreational opportunities in our local communities, even during tight fiscal times,” said Governor O’Malley. “Preserving our natural resources remains one of Maryland’s highest priorities and this Program allows us to continue to advance the common good, no matter the economic climate.”
Program Open Space was established in 1969 to preserve Maryland’s natural resources and provide recreational opportunities for its citizens. The majority of funding for the Program is provided by a portion (75%) of the state real estate transfer tax. About half of the funding is allotted for stateside projects that support major land acquisitions across the State and the balance is reserved for park operations and county projects. Each county’s allotment of Program Open Space funds is determined by transfer tax contributions and population change as determined by census data.
In order to meet State standards, each county can typically spend about half of its funding for development recreation projects, such as playgrounds and park improvements, and up to 100 percent of its funding for land acquisition. On an ongoing basis, counties submit individual projects to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), where they are reviewed for compliance with the county’s annual and long term park and recreation plans as well as their fit with the program’s overall mission. After review has been completed, a project is presented to the Board of Public Works for approval. In the years following the completion of a project, a county is liable for the upkeep of a property or project and is subject to periodic inspections for verification.
Today, the board approved funding for the following local-side Program Open Space projects:
Anne Arundel County will receive $5,768,954 for 8 projects including:
- $692,000 for stadium renovations at Chesapeake High School;
- $470,000 to acquire 4.5 acres of land surrounded by the Jug Bay wetlands sanctuary;
- $1,264,000 to acquire 66 acres of forested riparian land near the headwaters of the South River;
- $436,000 to improve facilities at Fort Smallwood – Weinberg Park in Pasadena;
- $1,827,000 to acquire 140 acres adjacent to the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary;
- $863,000 to acquire 67.4 acres to expand the Bacon Ridge Brach-South River Greenway in Crownsville;
- $66,954 to restore trails at Truxton Park in Annapolis; and
- $150,000 to improve recreational amenities at Harmons Park on Teague Road.
Baltimore County will receive $989,007 to acquire 3.41 acres to expand Hazelwood Park in the Overlea-Fullerton community and $993,087 to construct an artificial turf athletic field at Woodlawn High School.
Calvert County will receive $522,687 for the following three projects:
- $78,000 for athletic fields, playground areas, a skate park and other park improvements at Solomon’s Town Center Park;
- $371,687 to allow for parking, restrooms, a new playground and picnic shelters at Hollowing Point Park in Prince Frederick; and
- $73,000 for the second phase of energy-efficient lighting and restroom facilities at Cove Point Park in Lusby.
Piney Run Tennis Courts near Eldersburg in Carroll County will be resurfaced with $58,500 in funding.
Frederick County will receive $203,514 for the following three projects:
- $37,614 to improve playgrounds at Jefferson Village Park in Middletown;
- $163,500 to acquire 10.2 acres for Fitez Park in Emmitsburg; and
- $2,400 to install two climbing walls at Middletown Memorial Park in Middletown.
In Garrett County, $63,010 will provide for a concession stand and restrooms at Oakland’s Broadford Park.
Harford County will receive $350,000 to acquire 66 acres for a new community park near Poplar Grove.
In Montgomery County, Evans Parkway Neighborhood Park in Silver Spring will receive $2,670,000 to naturalize an existing stormwater management channel and install walkways, basketball courts and new play equipment.
The Discovery Community Park in Laurel in Prince George’s County will receive $41,000 for park improvements.
Wicomico County will receive $1,041,000 to acquire 100 acres to provide for a new regional park for Salisbury’s west metro core area and $1,530,000 to acquire five acres of the former Salisbury Mall to provide additional parking for the Salisbury City Park and Zoo, Wicomico High School stadium events, and Youth and Civic Center events.
Worcester County will receive $22,535 to continue to renovate John Walter Smith Park in Snow Hill.
Cecil County will receive $37,975.50 for the construction of a handicapped accessible overlook and observation deck at New Beck’s Landing in Chesapeake City.
Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW have preserved more than 21,148 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland through Program Open Space. Since its inception in 1969, the program has provided funding for acquisition of 340,860 acres of Maryland’s landscape. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by POS. Visit www.greenprint.maryland.gov for an interactive, statewide map showing the land protected by Program Open Space.
The three-member Board of Public Works, chaired by Governor O’Malley, is 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.
February 18, 2009
Contact: Kara Turner
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.