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Governor O’Malley Announces Support for Eastern Shore Park Improvements
Wicomico and Worcester Counties Will Receive $2,593,535
Annapolis, Md. (February 18, 2009)— Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works approval of local-side Program Open Space funding for two projects in Wicomico County and one project in Worcester County.
“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. “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.”
Wicomico County will receive $1,041,000 to acquire 100 acres with frontage on Levin Dashiell Road in Hebron, Md. to provide for a new regional park for Salisbury’s west metro core area. The park is projected to serve 11,000 citizens and residents of nearby subdivisions, and will be more economical with greater diversity of park facilities, than if numerous small parks were constructed to serve these residents.
The County will also receive $1,530,000 to acquire five acres of the former Salisbury Mall to serve visitors to Salisbury City Park and Zoo, Wicomico High School stadium, and Youth and Civic Center events. From 1968-2004, the privately owned Salisbury Mall operated and was demolished in late 2007-early 2008. The land will provide for higher attendance to events, through increased parking accommodations.
“These funds will allow the county to complete a ring of community parks around the Salisbury metro core. Serving a present population of nearly 10,000, expected to grow to 14,000 in the next several years, this project is what Program Open Space is all about and we’re deeply grateful to the Board of Public Works for their consideration,” said Rick Pollitt, Wicomico County Executive. “The recreational, cultural and sporting events held at those locations represent a tremendous boost to our economy and our great quality of life yet the lack of adequate parking puts reaching their full potential at risk,” he continued, referring to the former Salisbury Mall acquisition.
Worcester County will receive $22,535 to continue to renovate John Walter Smith Park in Snow Hill. As phase 2 of the project, two existing tennis courts will be renovated, a stone parking lot will be resurfaced to create structured parking spaces, and a maintenance administration building will be constructed.
Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW have preserved more than 21,148 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland through Program Open Space. Since its inception in 1969, the program has provided funding for acquisition of 340,860 acres of Maryland’s landscape. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by POS. Visit www.greenprint.maryland.gov for an interactive, statewide map showing the land protected by Program Open Space.
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.
February 18, 2009
Contact: Kara Turner
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.