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Maryland Preserves 200 Acres Of Open Space
More Than $5 Million Provided to Local Governments for Park Creation & Improvements
ANNAPOLIS, MD – On Wednesday, August 1, Governor Martin O’Malley announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of more than $12 million in Program Open Space funding that will preserve a unique Bay-front property in Queen Anne’s County and provide for 13 local projects.
The BPW approved the State’s purchase of the 74-acre Langenfelder property located on the northern tip of Kent Island, north of Stevensville. The $7.2 million acquisition will preserve an important natural and historic site, provide for public recreation, enhance existing land and water trails, serve as a living classroom for environmental education, safeguard wildlife habitat, and allow for significant restoration activities to improve water quality.
This property represents a confluence of opportunities to help preserve and restore the Chesapeake Bay and will help our state expand public access to this natural treasure,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Program Open Space is nationally-recognized program that has been used to protect over 320,000 aces in our State from sprawl and development.”
Situated at the mouth of the Chester River, the property offers excellent water access opportunities for the citizens of Maryland, particularly with the existence of a deep water port, a rarity along Chesapeake Bay shorelines. The port facility is expected to provide a safe harbor for watermen and boaters and become a part of the Chesapeake Bay Water Trails System. The waterfront facility will enable visitors on small watercraft to explore the Bay through short day trips to areas of interest, such as the Chesapeake Exploration Center at Kent Narrows, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center or the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
“With access to deep water, an extensive shoreline, a lake area and other amenities, the property is a tremendous opportunity to provide a vast number of Marylanders with important outdoor experiences that can help reconnect residents with some of Maryland’s most valuable natural areas,” said Kim Coble, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
For the next five years, Langenfelder Marine, Inc. will continue to lease back approximately 12 acres of the property for the continuation of its existing business operations, resulting in $1,075,000 in revenue for the State Forest and Park Reserve Fund. Restoration and other enhancements on the balance of the property are expected to begin soon after the transaction is completed. DNR’s long-term restoration goals for the property include enhancing the habitat for native bird species, establishing wetlands to reduce nutrient inputs into the Bay, and establishing living shorelines.
Through a $3.3 million grant to Baltimore County, the Board provided for preservation of 129 acres of the Rolling Mill Farm property, located in a unique area where urbanized Hunt Valley ends and the scenic, rural Worthington Valley begins. This acquisition will help preserve the area’s rural nature, while providing compatible recreational opportunities such as trails, equestrian facilities, picnic areas and open fields. Baltimore County also plans to establish interpretive areas to educate visitors about the environment as well as the area’s rich agricultural and equine heritage, local history and culture.
Twelve other Local Program Open Space projects were also approved at Wednesday’s BPW meeting:
- Allegany County – A $75,900 grant will improve the Frostburg Community Park Playground with new playground equipment.
- Frederick County
- A $337,500 grant will assist with the first phase of development for Remsburg Park, a new 90-acre park located in Middletown. Improvements being made include creating an entrance road, softball fields and parking, and reforestation of 9.8 acres.
- A $30,282 grant will finance construction of a gazebo and pavilion at the New Market Community Park Development to provide a picnic area and shaded area for families enjoying the park.
- Garrett County – A $30,000 grant will fund playground upgrades and handicapped-accessible ramps at Broadford Lake Park in Oakland.
- Harford County – A $494,000 grant was approved to acquire 11.5 acres for a new community park in Darlington. The rural village is a Priority Funding Area and the acquisition of the property will enable the future development of athletic fields and recreational facilities compatible with the community’s character.
- Prince George’s County – A $112,000 grant to assist Prince George’s County in the design and construction of playgrounds, picnic shelters, trails, and ball fields at the new 18-acre Rollins Avenue Neighborhood Park. The County will provide an additional $1,338,000 to complete the project.
- St. Mary’s County – A $200,000 grant was approved to construct a restroom and concession facility at the Public Waterfront Park at Leonardtown Wharf. This project is part of a larger, mixed-use development on the Breton Bay waterfront which includes a recreational park with picnic tables, a bird observatory, nature trails, boardwalk and small boat access.
- Washington County
- A $30,400 grant will finance installation of barrier-free, ADA-compliant playground equipment in Hagerstown Fairground Park Playground.
- An $88,000 grant will finance construction of mini pavilions and accessible pathways to recently installed playground equipment at Byron Memorial Park in Williamsport.
- Wicomico County – A $42,750 grant will enable Wicomico County to install new playground equipment and upgrade picnic facilities at Cherry Beach Park Playground in Sharptown. The county is providing an additional $4,750 to complete the project.
- Worcester County
- A $154,000 grant will finance construction of a pavilion and restrooms at Fiesta Park in Ocean City.
- A $151,478 grant will assist Snow Hill with enhancement projects at Byrd Park.
Chaired by Governor O’Malley, the Board of Public Works is also comprised of Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions, and other procurement actions.
Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of nearly 321,000 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by this program.
Further restrictions may need to be put in place if the current dry weather pattern continues.
August 2, 2007
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