Md. panel OKs grant to save property

Board of Public Works approves $1.25 million to preserve Lothian parcel

January 29, 2004|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Board of Public Works yesterday approved a $1.25 million grant to help Anne Arundel County preserve a 313-acre farm in the Jug Bay sanctuary along the Patuxent River in Lothian.

The parcel, known as the Riggleman property, includes one mile of coastal frontage on Jug Bay, wetlands, woods, a vineyard and a historic house. Anne Arundel officials said they were thrilled with the Project Open Space grant, because the property is a key piece in their efforts to preserve a large swath of land along the Patuxent.

"The Riggleman family has farmed this land for generations. I'm honored to pass their legacy on to the citizens of this county and to preserve property so beautifully situated along the Patuxent River," County Executive Janet S. Owens said in a statement. "Even in these difficult times, I sincerely appreciate the members of the Board of Public Works approving the necessary funding for this acquisition."

The county owns preservation easements, which prevent future development, on about 5,000 acres around Jug Bay, an area that features the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and the Merkle Wildlife Management Area.

The preservation efforts will help improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and protect many species of fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds, said Pam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the county land use department.

"This is just a wonderful piece of property for the citizens of the county to have in preservation," Jordan said.

The county expects to pay $5.1 million overall for the parcel, with $2.5 million from a National Park Service grant and $1.38 million from county preservation funds. The rest will come from the Project Open Space grant.

The grant was the second boost to the county's preservation efforts from the Board of Public Works in recent months. Last month, the board approved $1.5 million in Project Open Space money for a 232-acre parcel off Fort Smallwood Road that is slated to become a public park.

The Riggleman property will bring the total acreage preserved by the county to about 11,000.

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