Two local trail projects — one in West Towson and another at Cromwell Valley Park — are the recipients of $30,000 each in state grants through the Maryland Recreational Trails Program.
The grants were announced Nov. 16 by Gov. Martin O'Malley as part of the Cycle Maryland and the "Maryland Trails: A Greener Way To Go" initiatives.
The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks will receive $30,000 for the stabilization of the West Towson Trail.
The trail stretches between Chesapeake and Allegheny avenues. It borders the Towson Y property and adjacent neighborhoods, and had been the subject of some debate because residents had expressed concern that it might become too intrusive if the trail was built up.
But Fifth District County Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, said the project would be limited to stabilizing the trail, "mainly to stop erosion and do minor improvement," he said last spring. Marks worked to get the trail included on the Eastern Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plan as a way to increase its chances for funding.
On Friday, reacting to the grant award, Marks reiterated that pledge, saying, "As promised, our office will work with the Towson Y Family Center and the West Towson Neighborhood Association so the money goes to stabilize the path, not build a trail that encroaches on the neighborhood.
"Our office helped prepare the application, and I am delighted the funding was approved," said Marks, who also expressed his appreciation to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz for supporting the project. The West Towson trail was listed as the recreation department's No. 2 priority for trails in the county.
Also, the Cromwell Valley Park Council will also receive $30,000 for a project to stabilize and improve two trails in the park.
According to the Cromwell Park website, the Minebank Run Trail, known as the Blue Trail, is a 1.2-mile trail that follows along Minebank Run stream through the length of the park, and gives visitors a chance to see the stream ecology and historic structures, and leads to the lower dam at Loch Raven Reservoir. The Lime Kiln Trail, known as the White Trail, is a smaller, .2-mile path that connects to the Minebank trail.
Across the state, the trail grants program awarded more than $1 million to 11 counties, 12 municipalities and eight nonprofit associations to support construction of new trails, maintenance of existing trails, as well as equipment purchases.
The grants range from $5,000 to $64,000 for trail maintenance, construction and stewardship projects.