For many families, the 288-acre Kinder Farm Park the county acquired in 1979 is the place where children play Green Hornets -- that is, Greater Severna Park Athletic Association sports.
For mothers of young children, it's the sandy playground with swings, slides and a log-cabin playhouse.
For gardeners without space at home to cultivate, it's holy ground.
On Friday, ground was broken for a $12 million, three-phase project to expand facilities and services in the park by 2002.
Presiding at the ceremony were County Executive John G. Gary, Tom Angelis, county director of recreation and parks; and Brian Woodward, the department's chief of environmental programs and facilities.
Bill Offutt, the park's new superintendent, started with the county more than eight years ago as a ranger, when the B&A Trail Park was under construction. He helped open Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis.
"I was at Downs Park for a little over four years," Offutt said. "Then I was promoted and came to Kinder Farm Park."
The Kinder property has been a dairy farm and vegetable farm and beef cattle were raised there in the 1970s, Offutt said.
The park will add several multipurpose fields for the Green Hornets; trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding; and picnic areas, pavilions, a playground and an equestrian ring.
"I imagine people bringing their horses to the park in trailers and tTC relaxing them in the ring before they go on the trail," said Jack Keene, the department's head of planning and construction.
Phase One, which includes roadwork and new water and sewer lines, should be completed by April.
"The first phase will give us a stand-alone facility for staff and program planning," said Keene. "The existing 1920s farmhouse will be used as an office, and there will be a new restroom building and picnic pavilion.
"We hope to have a day camp as early as 1999."
Offutt said he hopes to include innovative agricultural programs and livestock and develop a history of county farming with the help of volunteers.
Pub Date: 6/04/98