Maryland Approves Recreation Enhancements Statewide
Families will continue to benefit from Maryland’s signature Program Open Space with today’s Board of Public Works’ approval of funding for recreational upgrades in Baltimore, Caroline, Charles, Kent and Montgomery counties.
“Through Program Open Space we are not only improving our State’s parks and recreational facilities, we are improving the overall quality of life for our citizens,” said Governor O’Malley. “These areas promote active lifestyles, provide families with safe places to spend quality time with one another, and strengthen community ties among residents.”
Baltimore County will receive $309,895 to acquire 37 acres in Sparks ─ located adjacent to the Sparks Elementary School Recreation Center ─ to serve as a community park for the rural communities of northern Baltimore County.
Caroline County will receive $31,387 for the first phase of development of Marydel Community Park, which includes a multi-purpose athletic field, a 250-foot of access path, relocation of playground equipment, signage, a parking area and an entrance road.
Charles County will receive $305,000 to acquire 149 acres of undeveloped land to protect the Port Tobacco River and to establish a new recreational park. The land will offer numerous opportunities for expanded ecotourism efforts and outdoor recreation activities including hiking, birding and paddling access to the river. The county also received a $630,000 grant from the Federal Fish and Wildlife Coastal Wetlands for the property purchase.
Kent County will receive $10,000 to acquire .26 additional acres for the existing 2.1 acre community park. This additional acreage will increase the recreational opportunities and open space area for the community. The Town of Galena is contributing the remaining $28,500 for this property.
Montgomery County will receive $1.2 million to design and construct a new greenhouse and plant propagation facility at Brookside Gardens to consolidate growing areas, operate more efficiently, and save money. Brookside Gardens is located within the 500-acre Wheaton Regional Park and hosts more than 400,000 visitors annually. The gardens encompass 50 acres, of which 35 are open to the public, and 15 are service and natural areas. The work done at the greenhouse and propagation facility supplies the gardens with plants for seasonal displays, scenic landscapes, horticultural education and plant sales. Total development costs are estimated to be $3,274,600.
Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley, the Board of Public Works has approved funding for 1,348 recreational projects, including Community Parks & Playgrounds, totaling more than $357 million through local-side Program Open Space since 2007.
Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for the State to preserve 367,119 acres for open space and recreation areas. Of this, 46,078 acres ─ nearly 12 percent ─ has been preserved within the past seven years under the O’Malley-Brown Administration. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by Program Open Space. View a video showing the direct benefits of Program Open Space here.
The three-member Board of Public Works is comprised of Governor O’Malley (chair), 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.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million 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.