ANNAPOLIS – Montgomery County will get about $1 million for three new community parks and an expanded conservation area surrounding the Upper Paint Branch, the Board of Public Works announced Wednesday.
The three-man board, comprising Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, approved the Program Open Space funds aiding the county’s acquisition and development of the park land.
Much of the money will reimburse the county for work already begun, said Bill Gries, a county land acquisition specialist.
The $256,200 expansion to the Upper Paint Branch Stream Valley Park adds 8.5 acres to a buffer zone being created around the stream and its tributaries, Gries said. The county is trying to protect a prime cold water trout breeding area.
Another $435,000 went to two parks being built on the sites of former school grounds, Gries said. Brookview Local Park and Bullis Local Park will both see their facilities greatly expanded, said Gries.
Both Brookeview and Bullis will get sports facilities, hiking trails and improved parking, state records show.
Gries hopes that both sites will eliminate pent-up recreation demand in the heavily developed southern part of the county. “The demand is already there and we’re catching up,” he said.
Also already under construction, Gries said, is the $322,000, eight-acre-park called Germantown Estates Local Park. When completed, it will have two soccer fields, tennis courts, and hiking trails.
“Program Open Space is incredibly important to Montgomery County’s building efforts,” Gries said. Park funds raised by county taxes, he said, only maintain the county’s current park system. Expansion can only occur with Program Open Space funding. He said: “I don’t know where we’d be without it.”
Sandy Trent, an administrator with Program Open Space, said the program funds conservation and park building efforts statewide. Money comes from a one-half percent real estate transfer tax, and is split about equally between local governments and the state. The program has added over 150,000 acres to state parks and resource conservation areas and more than 25,000 acres to local park lands, Trent said. -30-