State Approves $522,687 for Three Parks Projects in Calvert - Southern Maryland Headline News

State Approves $522,687 for Three Parks Projects in Calvert

ANNAPOLIS (Feb. 19, 2009)— The State Board of Public Works approved local-side Program Open Space funding for 25 local park and land acquisition projects in 12 counties on Wednesday. Calvert County is slated to receive $522,687 for three projects. Neither Charles or St. Mary's counties received any funding during this exercise.

The projects in Calvert include:

-- $78,000 for athletic fields, playground areas, a skate park and other park improvements at Solomon’s Town Center Park;

-- $371,687 to allow for parking, restrooms, a new playground and picnic shelters at Hollowing Point Park in Prince Frederick; and

-- $73,000 for the second phase of energy-efficient lighting and restroom facilities at Cove Point Park in Lusby.

“All projects funded through Program Open Space are made possible by a coordinated commitment – to conserve land and improve outdoor recreational opportunities in our local communities, even during tight fiscal times,” said Governor O’Malley in a statement. “Preserving our natural resources remains one of Maryland’s highest priorities and this Program allows us to continue to advance the common good, no matter the economic climate.”

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.

The three-member Board of Public Works, chaired by Governor O’Malley, is comprised of 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.

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