News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor O’Malley Announces Recreation And Land Acquisition Projects In Five Counties

Annapolis, Md. - Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works approval of recreation and land acquisition projects in Baltimore, Frederick, Kent, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties through local-side Program Open Space funding.

“The Program Open Space projects approved today represent our shared vision of creating quality recreational facilities and natural spaces close to home for all Maryland families, and especially our young people,” said Governor O’Malley.

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 of Public Works approved funding for the following local-side Program Open Space projects:

  • Prince George’s County will receive $1.4 million for three projects, including

    • $519,002 to renovate Duvall Field in College Park, including new field lighting, fencing, restroom facilities, bleachers and backstops and providing a perimeter-walking trail with fitness stations.
    • $320,379 to renovate the athletic fields and related facilities at the District Heights Recreational Center, providing a new track, scoreboards, a press box, bleachers and outdoor lighting system for the existing football field and two baseball fields. The fields are the home of all athletic practices for District Heights Boys and Girls Club and used on a daily basis by surrounding community.
    • $512,150 to design and install an artificial turf playing surface on Murtaugh Field I at Allen Pond Park in Bowie.
  • Baltimore County will receive $376,078 to acquire four parcels totaling one acre to serve as an additional land for the county’s recently purchased Somogyi Property Park Site on the Back River peninsula on the eastern side of the county, increasing the overall park size to 86 acres.
  • The City of Brunswick in Frederick County will receive $100,000 to acquire one third of an acre for the existing West End Park, a 2-acre community park along Brunswick Street.
  • Kent County will receive $100,000 to begin construction of an outdoor swimming pool at the new Kent Community Center in Worton.
  • The City of Rockville in Montgomery County will receive $270,000 to develop seven acres of the 18-acre Fallsgrove Park into an active recreation area, with new tennis courts, playgrounds, garden plots, a picnic area, and a multi-use athletic field. The forest land in the remaining 11 acres will be preserved.

Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW preserved more than 21,971 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 341,682 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by Program Open Space.

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.

   June 3, 2009

Contact: Megan Rhoads

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