County's parks are booming, building

June 19, 2005|By Christina Hernandez | Christina Hernandez,SUN STAFF

Residents have no excuse to hide out in the air conditioning all summer long. Baltimore County has nearly 200 parks and recreation sites perfect for summer fun.

According to the Baltimore County Web site, the Department of Recreation and Parks has an annual budget of more than $12 million. A group of 44 volunteer recreation and park councils raises and spends an additional $13 million for program-related expenses.

Robert Barrett, director of Baltimore County Recreation and Parks, said the County Council passed legislation over the past three years as part of a $2.5 million renaissance program to rejuvenate older fields with new irrigation systems, sod and other additions. Six fields are revamped each year.

"Fields that are so old and overused needed revitalization," he said.

Last year almost 260,000 people visited Meadowood Regional Park in Lutherville-Timonium.

"Our regional parks are booming," Barrett said.

Park expansions under way could foster even greater attendance in coming years.

Honeygo Run Regional Park in the Perry Hall-White Marsh Growth Area recently replaced its temporary baseball diamonds and athletic fields.

An expansion at the Marshy Point Nature Center will provide about 30 percent more space to the facility.

New ice skating and indoor soccer facilities were proposed for this year's budget in a county project for Reisterstown Regional Park, Barrett said.

An expanded recreation center is under construction in Parkville, and a soccer arena is proposed for Fullerton.

A community center and park are under construction in Essex. The 55-acre site will have a new community center, police substation, active recreation fields, a walking path, a picnic area and a playground.

A new regional community center is also in the works for the Randallstown area.

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