County announces repairs and improvements for parks

More than $900,000 in projects subsidized by Open Space funds


Grass is growing up through cracks in the pavement of the basketball court at Westminster City Park. The white paint on the backboards, aged by weather and time, has peeled off in spots to reveal rusty stains. One rim is bent downward at an awkward angle.

The court, along with surrounding fencing that was deemed unsafe, will be reconstructed as part of a nearly $1 million enhancement of 13 area parks recently approved by the Carroll County commissioners.

The $36,000 basketball court project is one of 15 park improvements and repairs subsidized by the county's 2007 share of money from Program Open Space, a state program that uses funds derived from taxes on real estate transactions to give people areas for outdoor recreation.

Through the county's open space funding, six municipalities will receive a total of $909,951 for projects that include development of a new park in Sykesville and the construction of a handicapped-accessible restroom in Mount Airy.

According to county officials, the 15 projects are: Hampstead:

Hampstead Municipal Park: Completion of the park's development, which will include adding volleyball courts, a pavilion and a half-mile walking trail ($177,480).

Oden Kemp Town Center Park: Construction of a basketball court, fencing and paving of a 40-car parking lot ($58,500). Manchester:

Christmas Tree Park: Building of two dugouts on baseball field D ($13,500).

Pine Valley Park: Construction of an open-air pavilion to be located near Charlotte's Quest Nature Center ($31,500). Mount Airy:

Summit Ridge Park: Building of two dugouts on the baseball field, including one with a shed for shelter and equipment storage ($16,200).

Watkins Park: Construction of a handicapped-accessible restroom ($26,190).

Wildwood Park: Installation of a wrought iron fence for safety along the newly constructed wall by the east side of Park Avenue ($10,800). Sykesville:

Warfield Commerce and Cultural Center Park: Funding toward the new park's development, including a pathway around the perimeter, benches, electricity and lighting in certain areas, an arboretum and informational signage ($204,840). Taneytown:

Copperfield Park: Acquisition of the property for the new neighborhood park ($40,000). Installation of a playground ($40,171).

Taneytown Memorial Park: Renovation of two tennis courts ($105,300). Westminster:

Fenby Farm Quarry/Lime Kiln Park: Construction of climbing boulders for play ($45,000).

Skate Park: Renovation of ramps that are in poor condition ($45,000).

Westminster City Park: Reconstruction of the basketball court and fencing ($36,000). Reconstruction of a building used for storage and concessions will also be rebuilt to Health Department standards ($59,470).

Every year, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources uses money collected from a 0.5 percent tax on real estate transactions to fund state and local parks and conservation areas through its Program Open Space, according to the state DNR Web site and Jeff Degitz, director of recreation and parks for Carroll County.

The funding is allocated through the state on a per capita basis. This year, Carroll County received approximately $3.6 million, Degitz said.

Carroll County designates 25 percent of the allocation for municipal projects, with the requirement that the open space funding cover 90 percent of the project costs. The remaining 10 percent is split evenly between the municipality and the county.

The other 75 percent of the state open space allocation helps fund the acquisition and development of park land, Degitz said.

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