'Brainstorming' to begin on Gillis Falls park uses SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

January 12, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

County planners and recreation officials are to begin "brainstorming" today about possible recreational uses for the long-proposed Gillis Falls park in southwestern Carroll.

John Little, the county's Parks and Recreation Department director, said he envisions a park similar to the 800-acre Piney Run Park near Eldersburg, which would feature boating activities, hiking trails and picnic pavilions.

The Gillis Falls park, which eventually would be the site of a reservoir, would encompass about 1,100 acres, Mr. Little said. The county has purchased most of the property needed for the park and the reservoir, he said.

The reservoir, which has been recommended as a future water source for South Carroll, has been stalled by environmental conflicts. County officials said the reservoir won't be built soon, but the park can be planned and used before then.

South Carroll residents have been pressing county officials to develop the site for recreational uses. The undeveloped site already is being used for hiking, cross-country skiing and equestrian activities, Mr. Little said, and the county likely will allow those activities to continue until work on the reservoir begins.

When it's completed, Gillis Falls Regional Park is expected to serve about 100,000 people each year, county officials say.

The county Planning Department sought money to hire a consultant to develop a master recreation plan for the park last fall, but the county commissioners balked at spending the money in tight economic times. The department's staff was asked to do the work instead.

"We start talking [today] about what kind of activities can take place at the site," Mr. Little said. "We're just in the beginning stages. There's a lot of work that needs to be done."

Because the site is targeted for a reservoir, Mr. Little said the staff will look at recreational uses beyond the reservoir high water mark. Those uses could include hiking trails and picnic areas.

Officials also are considering educational and cultural facilities for the site.

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