Rec agency seeks funds for fields


Five synthetic surfaces is the long-term goal


The county's Department of Recreation and Parks is requesting money in this year's county capital budget to put in a synthetic field at Cedar Lane Park, which could be the first of five such fields in different Howard County parks over the next five years.

Gary Arthur, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, said Cedar Lane Park would be the first place to get a synthetic field, which is extremely low-maintenance and can handle games all year long and in all types of weather. Grass fields can be damaged by erosion if used during winter.

Arthur said the department has asked for about $580,000 for the field. If the county executive and County Council approve the request, the money would become available July 1. The field could be installed by next fall.

The process starts tonight with a 7:30 p.m. board hearing at the rec and parks office, 7120 Oakland Mills Road.

Overall, the department is seeking approval of 19 projects, totaling about $16 million, Arthur said.

"It's been a banner year in terms of the transfer tax," Arthur said. "We're hoping that the county executive will approve the majority of our projects."

Eventually, he said, the department would like to install two synthetic fields at Cedar Lane, two at Centennial Park and one at Rockburn Park, which got a synthetic field last summer. That field took just six weeks to install and has been popular among the various leagues, players and administrators.

"That's what our goal is," Arthur said. "We've had some great success right now with the Rockburn field. We've gone in rain ... and a little bit of icy conditions, and we're very pleased with what we see."

Mike Milani, sport supervisor the department, said officials want to add new synthetic fields until all of the multipurpose fields with lights have synthetic playing surfaces. The county has six multipurpose fields with lights, but Rockburn is the only one with synthetic turf.

Phase one for park

Rec and parks officials remain optimistic that the first phase of the new Western Regional Park should open next spring. The first phase should have three baseball/softball diamonds (with fences at 300 feet). Two synthetic surfaces for lighted, multipurpose fields and two grass fields are slated to open next fall.

The park likely will have three or four smaller fields in phase two, possibly coming in 2007.

Howard Huskies

The Howard Huskies have started a new program for their ice hockey players: a Progressive Skills Clinic for all age groups.

The clinic is being held at 8:25 p.m. Mondays at Columbia Ice Rink. The clinic includes fundamental skating work (aimed mostly at children who play recreation sports); checking and slapshots (mainly for those who play at the pee wee or bantam levels) and goalie clinics (for kids of any age who play in the club).

This is the first year that the Huskies have tried the program, and club officials say they want to supplement the practices that the various teams have each week.

The clinic runs throughout the season, usually October through some point in March. The Huskies also will have a 10-session power skating clinic in the spring, probably in April, along with a regular session of pickup games for the pee wees and bantams.

Information:, or the Columbia Ice Rink at 410-730-6838.

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