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News Maryland Howard County Columbia

Blandair Park looks ahead to continued growth

The development of Blandair Park in east Columbia is moving steadily along, according to Raul Delerme, chief of Capital Projects, Park Planning and Construction for the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.

"It is exciting to see progression of this project," said Delerme. "We are fortunate we've been able to continue building the project as opposed to building one section and letting it lay."

Recreation and Parks has requested $10 million in capital funds for the project in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, a draft of which was presented to the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board last week.

The $10 million constitutes about a third of Recreation and Parks' capital budget for Fiscal Year 2015, and is expected to be the largest annual sum allocated to the 300-acre park, which began construction in 2010.

The total cost of the park is estimated at $50 million.

Delerme said the county plans to start construction on phase two of the park, which includes tennis courts and baseball diamonds, and finishing designs for phase three, which includes a dog park and a large playground. Both phase two and phase three are on the south side of Route 175.

Delerme said the large sum is primarily attributed to construction of the park's 45,000 square-foot multi-purpose building, which could begin construction in the next fiscal year.

serve as a focal point for the park's south side. The building will house

"We wanted to preserve the history of the site, and that's what were doing through the mansion," Delerme said.

"We are hoping to go out to bid in January and then start construction in the spring," Delerme said. "Construction usually takes 18 months, so if we get good weather we can knock that out."

two lighted baseball diamonds, playground, five tennis courts, restroom and a 160-space parking lot.

"It is going to be neat and a little different. It's something we haven't done yet in the county," Delerme said.

A second alternative entrance to the southern side of the park was originally planned for phase three near Timesweep Lane. However, residents living in the nearby Cinnamon Tree and Emerson Hill communities testified against the entrance at a public meeting held Dec. 17, which resulted in the entrance being pulled from the plan.

"The whole point (of the meeting) was to cast a broader net, get more opinion," said John Byrd, director of Recreation and Parks to the 50 residents who turned out for the meeting held at Talbott Springs Elementary School.

"My parents told me when you hear something a few times you start listening. So I can tell you we are not going to do a vehicle entrance off Timesweep Lane."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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