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Governor O’Malley Presents Check to St. Mary's County for Waterway Improvements
Governor Praises Leonardtown Wharf Renovation Efforts
LEONARDTOWN, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley today presented a check for $743,720 to St. Mary’s County for Waterway Improvement Funds, which includes an additional investment of $200,000 to continue renovations of the Leonardtown Wharf. Governor O’Malley made the presentation at a gathering of local elected officials and community leaders to celebrate the great progress, partnership, and state investment made to renovate the Leonardtown Wharf in St. Mary’s County, while spending the day in Leonardtown.
“Improvements to our scenic waterways such as Brenton Bay and the Potomac River ensure that even more Marylanders get to experience the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor O’Malley. “Local projects supported by the State’s Waterway Improvement Fund, such as the Leonardtown wharf, allow these important recreational and economic resources to flourish, creating a positive impact for all of Southern Maryland.” The O’Malley-Brown Administration has invested $1,388,500 to continue the wharf’s renovation, including: $965,500 of Waterway Improvement Funds to replace the bulkhead, construct a boardwalk and pier, boat slips and a canoe and kayak launch, and restore wetlands; $209,000 in local-side Program Open Space funds to add 0.78 acres to the wharf for public access and enjoyment; $200,000 of Community Parks and Playgrounds Funds; and $14,000 from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority for historic interpretation and signage.
“Leonardtown Wharf has long been a driving economic engine for Leonardtown. After 20 years of dereliction we are thrilled to reopen the waterfront to the community,” said Leonardtown Mayor Norris. “Through a State, County and Town partnership this project has far exceeded our expectations. Leonardtown Wharf has had a major positive environmental impact; in addition it has added an attractive and much needed tourist destination to St. Mary’s County.”
“These Waterway Improvement Funds help us provide projects such as new piers, boat ramps and parking improvements at our waterfront public landings for our citizens, increase safety and security by underwriting the needed purchase of a fire/rescue boat and will ensure navigability of Kingston Creek,” said St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners President Jack Russell. “Our partnership with the State on these vital projects is appreciated.”
More than 8,700 St. Mary’s County residents and 205,000 Marylanders own boats and enjoy getting out on the water for an evening sail boat race, day fishing, or soaking in the sun and sites of the Chesapeake Bay.
Waterway improvement funding for St. Mary’s County is more than 270 times greater under Governor O’Malley than during the first two fiscal years of the previous administration. In addition, Leonardtown and the surrounding areas have benefited from the second straight year of full funding for Program Open Space, with projects underway in local community and state parks and other recreation facilities.
“As evidenced by the Leonardtown Wharf, local projects supported through the State’s Waterway Improvement Fund have a significant, positive impact on the local economy and daily lives of Southern Marylanders as they utilize and enjoy our waterways,” added Governor O’Malley. For the 2009 fiscal year, Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly approved more than $20 million in state Waterway Improvement Funds for 130 projects in 21 counties and Baltimore City to improve public waterway access, and support safe boating and commercial navigation in Maryland’s waterways. Since 1966, the Waterway Improvement Fund has provided more than 4,100 grants totaling $260 million for the creation and improvement of nearly 300 public boating access sites, more than 190 navigation projects, and to support hundreds of other boating related projects and activities throughout Maryland. Maryland boaters contribute to the Waterway Improvement Fund through a 5 percent vessel excise tax.
July 17, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 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