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Program Open Space

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NEWS
March 3, 2011
As a lifelong Marylander, I believe that one of our most important assets is the wealth of parks and open spaces dotting the landscape. For over 40 years, the state of Maryland has used an innovative national model — Program Open Space — to provide a dedicated pool of funds to be used for the preservation and development of open space. The program has used funds generated by the transfer/recordation taxes on land sales to help preserve open space. Marylanders who have bought or sold homes or other properties have already helped to pay for more than 352,192 acres of state and local parks that wouldn't exist otherwise.
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NEWS
April 7, 2014
Thanks for Dan Rodricks ' column championing the mandatory Program Open Space funds ( "Marylanders need to speak up for open space," April 1). Program Open Space offers a bit of balance to development. When you buy real estate, you take up some of Maryland's space. The POS transfer tax is a tiny portion of that transaction that provides outdoor recreational space for adults and children. Projects that Program Open Space funds have helped create and enhance include Cylburn, a horticultural educational park in Baltimore City, Fair Hill, Green Ridge State Park, Appalachian Trail protection on South Mountain and Meadowlands in Baltimore County.
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NEWS
April 7, 2014
Thanks for Dan Rodricks ' column championing the mandatory Program Open Space funds ( "Marylanders need to speak up for open space," April 1). Program Open Space offers a bit of balance to development. When you buy real estate, you take up some of Maryland's space. The POS transfer tax is a tiny portion of that transaction that provides outdoor recreational space for adults and children. Projects that Program Open Space funds have helped create and enhance include Cylburn, a horticultural educational park in Baltimore City, Fair Hill, Green Ridge State Park, Appalachian Trail protection on South Mountain and Meadowlands in Baltimore County.
NEWS
April 4, 2014
In a recent Sun article calling on me, and Maryland's legislature to reaffirm our longstanding commitment to parks, playgrounds, trails and fields ( "Marylanders need to speak up for open space," April 1), Dan Rodricks does a good job of spotlighting an important issue: funding open space preservation. But he misses the forest for the trees, so to speak, on a few key points. First, he suggests that our commitment to preserving open spaces statewide may be flagging. The facts tell a different story.
NEWS
March 12, 2014
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is about more than Program Open Space ( "Open Space falls short," March 10). It's about mortgaging our future to play today. You talk about hundreds of millions dollars diverted from Program Open Space, but let's look at the big picture. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, the Maryland pension system has a $54,498,265 liability. While having funding to cover 80 percent of obligations is considered healthy, Maryland's fund has only 64 percent. To the dismay of State Treasurer Nancy Koop, the legislature appears poised to kick the can down the road and not to pay their obligations to the fund again this year.
NEWS
By Amy L. Miller and Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer | February 13, 1995
Supporters of Program Open Space insist that they don't oppose increased funding for farmland preservation.They just oppose Sen. Larry E. Haines' proposal, which would take the money out of their budget."
NEWS
By Tom Horton and Tom Horton,SUN STAFF | March 11, 2005
A FRIEND, discoursing on the value of open space, says owning 25 acres means he can indulge the occasional need to walk outside naked and fire a shotgun. Not everyone's cup of tea. But for all of us, space to roam, to commune with nature, to hunt, to fish - to wonder and imagine what's around the bend and over the hill - is intimately bound with freedom, which is what my bare-butt, gun-toting friend was really talking about. With Maryland's population close to a citizen for each of the state's 6.2 million acres, nowadays we must secure the freedoms and delights of the land collectively, in public ownership.
NEWS
April 10, 2005
Program Open Space beneficial to Harford Program Open Space, Maryland's fund for the government purchase of parks and conservation areas, is a critical investment in the future. The goals of Program Open Space (POS) are supported by 88 percent of Maryland voters, according to a recent poll. Maintaining funding goes a long way to preserving farmland, protecting drinking water, and creating parks and recreation areas. One such example of how this program can (and will) be successful is the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation's acquisition and development of 70-plus acres of land near the Community College in conjunction with the Forest Hill, Hickory/Fountain Green and Emmorton Recreation Councils.
NEWS
By Amy L. Miller and Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Reporter | May 3, 1994
The Carroll County Commissioners yesterday rejected a proposal that was intended to reduce the paperwork required from the county Department of Recreation and Parks for municipal Program Open Space grants.Richard J. Soisson, Recreation and Parks director, had proposed that the county should reimburse municipalities for 28 percent of their open space projects directly, rather than requiring them to submit plans to the state program.County officials distribute state Program Open Space money based on a formula that averages 28 percent for each project, Mr. Soisson said, and his department helps municipal officials complete a complex state application for each project.
NEWS
July 12, 2006
Efforts to preserve Maryland's open spaces - to protect environmentally sensitive land, create parks or keep farmland economically viable - have been under assault these last four years. No less than $480 million has been diverted from the state's Program Open Space over that time, and the prospects for repayment aren't particularly good. Last year, the General Assembly mandated that about $70 million taken in 2005 and any future diversions be repaid - but not for another six years, and even then future leaders can change their minds.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | April 1, 2014
When I have a hard time understanding government spending - the construction and tinkering that goes into, say, Maryland's multibillion-dollar annual budget - I just imagine the whole thing as a kitchen-table conversation with members of a household declaring and negotiating priorities. (Pardon the time-worn metaphor, but it works for me.) After we cover the big-ticket items (health, education, roads, public safety, the mandatory areas of spending), we get around to the other pieces of the budget that need to be maintained - public employee pensions, for instance - and arguments break out about obligations, fiscal discipline and not "kicking the can down the road.
NEWS
March 12, 2014
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is about more than Program Open Space ( "Open Space falls short," March 10). It's about mortgaging our future to play today. You talk about hundreds of millions dollars diverted from Program Open Space, but let's look at the big picture. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, the Maryland pension system has a $54,498,265 liability. While having funding to cover 80 percent of obligations is considered healthy, Maryland's fund has only 64 percent. To the dismay of State Treasurer Nancy Koop, the legislature appears poised to kick the can down the road and not to pay their obligations to the fund again this year.
NEWS
March 9, 2014
When it comes to preserving land and creating public parks, few government programs have succeeded like Maryland's Program Open Space. It has been one of the state's most effective weapons in the cause of protecting the environment and off-setting the worst effects of poorly-managed sprawl development in the cities, suburbs and rural areas. The elegance of the program is in the simplicity of its design. By law, a .5 percent share of the transfer tax paid at real estate closings is set aside for protection of land against future development.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | January 16, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed state budget is balanced in part with funds shifted from programs meant to buy parkland and protect farmland from development, according to highlights of the plan released by the governor's office. Conservationists say the move short-changes land preservation, which they note has been a priority of the O'Malley administration. While O'Malley's fiscal 2015 spending plan would increase funding for natural resources and the environment by 1 percent overall, land preservation programs face cuts as tax revenues designated for that purpose are taken to help balance the state's budget.
NEWS
April 28, 2013
The Maryland General Assembly has wisely reaffirmed the importance of maintaining Program Open Space, the state's premier program to conserve land and create recreation areas, as a dedicated fund based on revenues from the transfer of real estate ("Crunching numbers on Maryland's land," April 18). While the legislature cut Rural Legacy and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Fund by $9 million, we were pleased the assembly rejected a restructuring of land conservation programs proposed by the Department of Legislative Services.
NEWS
April 2, 2012
Unless the House of Delegates reverses a Senate decision, Maryland's legislature will undermine the widely popular effort to create new places for outdoor recreation, as well as efforts to protect Maryland's best farmlands and forests. This decision would impact Maryland's residents and visitors alike by taking money set aside for land conservation and using it instead to pay for storm water projects. The Senate voted to raid all the land conservation programs. They took $26 million of the Program Open Space money, took money that was supposed to be paid back to Program Open Space and the Maryland Agricultural Land Protection Foundation, and completely defunded the Rural Legacy program.
NEWS
By Michael S. Derby and Michael S. Derby,CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE | November 16, 1997
ANNAPOLIS - Three Western Maryland counties will get about $500,000 to maintain and expand local parks, the Board of Public Works has announced.The three-member board, led by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, approved the Program Open Space funds to both reimburse park- building efforts and support new park programs.The state's action will preserve the Holly Avenue Recreation Area, located in LaVale. The board approved about $170,000 for Allegany County to purchase the site.Currently owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and leased for almost four decades to the LaVale Athletic Association, Holly Avenue was in a prime location for residential development, said Patricia Manown, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
NEWS
March 9, 2014
When it comes to preserving land and creating public parks, few government programs have succeeded like Maryland's Program Open Space. It has been one of the state's most effective weapons in the cause of protecting the environment and off-setting the worst effects of poorly-managed sprawl development in the cities, suburbs and rural areas. The elegance of the program is in the simplicity of its design. By law, a .5 percent share of the transfer tax paid at real estate closings is set aside for protection of land against future development.
NEWS
March 3, 2011
As a lifelong Marylander, I believe that one of our most important assets is the wealth of parks and open spaces dotting the landscape. For over 40 years, the state of Maryland has used an innovative national model — Program Open Space — to provide a dedicated pool of funds to be used for the preservation and development of open space. The program has used funds generated by the transfer/recordation taxes on land sales to help preserve open space. Marylanders who have bought or sold homes or other properties have already helped to pay for more than 352,192 acres of state and local parks that wouldn't exist otherwise.
BUSINESS
By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun | January 26, 2011
A proposal to create a family-oriented Inner Harbor park cleared a key hurdle today when Maryland's Board of Public Works voted to approve $1 million for the project. The money will be used to develop Pierce's Park, a one-acre parcel on Pier 5 named for former businessman Pierce Flanigan. Two nonprofit groups, the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, have been seeking to raise $2.4 million to create the park and maintain it. The $1 million from Program Open Space, part of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources, brings the total raised so far to more than $2 million in cash and donated labor and materials.
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