Governor Ehrlich Announces Approval of $3.9M in Program Open Space Funds for Five Maryland Counties - Southern Maryland Headline News

Governor Ehrlich Announces Approval of $3.9M in Program Open Space Funds for Five Maryland Counties


Charles County to Receive $1.85M

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval of $3,903,329 in Program Open Space funds for Anne Arundel, Charles, Carroll, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties.

“The approvals given today not only affect the health of our natural resources, they contribute to the overall well being of Marylanders,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Four projects will promote healthful recreation, and three will contribute to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.”

The Board is composed of Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.

A total allocation of $3,903,329 will fund seven projects in five counties:

Charles County

• The Board approved $1,803,000 in Program Open Space funds to acquire 68 acres off Acton Lane in Waldorf to establish a new park. Demand for outdoor recreation facilities, particularly athletic fields, exceeds supply in this part of the county, where more than a third of the population resides. Due to intense development, few parcels suitable as parkland remain. The county envisions building athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, and trails on this land, which has 16 acres of woods and is now zoned for industrial use. Additionally, this acquisition will preserve open space in an area where homes and industry are heavily concentrated.

• The Board approved $47,562 in Program Open Space funds to acquire a perpetual easement through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program on 35 acres of the Farmer property in the Wicomico River watershed of Charles County. This acquisition will improve water quality by establishing forested buffers along a half-mile of streams and agricultural ditches, thereby reducing sediment and nutrient runoff into the Wicomico River, a tributary of the Potomac River. The easement will permanently protect these riparian buffers planted in accord with the federal program. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Conservancy for Charles County will jointly hold the easement title.

Anne Arundel County

• The Board approved $1,800,000 in Program Open Space funds to develop East Park in Glen Burnie as the building site for the planned East Park Aquatic Center. The funding involves Phase I of the project. This 21-acre site, located on South Crain Highway and about a half-mile from I-97, is large enough to provide for ample parking and future expansion. The Aquatic Center will be an indoor facility that includes a competitive lap pool with eight 25-yard lanes, a free-form leisure pool, a water slide, a three-lane lap area for instruction, and a spa. The facility will also have men=s and women=s locker rooms, family changing areas, two classrooms, offices, restrooms, and mechanical and electrical rooms. Currently, Anne Arundel County operates a single indoor pool in Annapolis. The East Park Aquatic Center is needed to accommodate north-county residents and a growing population. Use is projected to exceed 500,000 visits annually.

Carroll County

• The Board approved $1,733 in Program Open Space funds for improvements at Vest Pocket Park in Mount Airy. The funds will be used to replace the deteriorating wooden Program Open Space sign and to install plants, a pathway, and related amenities. This small park, which has a few benches and a garden of flowers and trees, provides a convenient place to rest for those walking along its bordering streets.

• The Board also approved $11,250 in Program Open Space funds to install a vinyl-coated chain-link fence along two sides of a soccer field at Watkins Park in Mount Airy. Grading for a new elementary school produced a steep slope adjacent to the field. The fence, 10-feet in height and 200 yards in length, is needed for the safety of both players and spectators.

Wicomico County

• The Board approved $183,872 in Program Open Space funds to acquire a perpetual easement through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) on 202 acres of the Jones Farm in Wicomico County. This acquisition will improve water quality by establishing forested buffers along nearly three miles of agricultural ditches, thereby reducing sediment and nutrient runoff into the upper part of the Pocomoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The easement will permanently protect these riparian buffers planted in accord with the federal program. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Lower Shore Land Trust will jointly hold the easement title.

Worcester County

• The Board also approved $55,912 in Program Open Space funds to acquire a perpetual easement through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program on 31 acres of the Aydelotte Farm in Worcester County. This acquisition will improve water quality by establishing forested buffers along a mile and a half of agricultural ditches, thereby reducing sediment and nutrient runoff into the lower part of the Pocomoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The easement will permanently protect these riparian buffers planted in accord with the federal program. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Lower Shore Land Trust will jointly hold the easement title.

Since assuming office, the Ehrlich Administration and its partners have invested more than $64 million to protect over 31,000 acres of land to help restore the Bay and its surrounding environment. With nearly one in every five acres permanently protected in Maryland, the state remains a national leader in land preservation.

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