Harford hopes to improve parks, recreations areas for the public

In its Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan, Harford County hopes to add recreational opportunities and facilities to meet the needs of the public, provide and healthy opportunities for county residents, acquire additional land for recreation purposes and incorporate sustainable development and conservation practices, the county's parks and rec director told members of the Darlington/Dublin Community Council at their meeting Wednesday night.

"We still have done a heck of a job here" in terms of accomplishments from previous plans, Arden McClune said at the meeting at the Conowingo Dam Visitors Center in Darlington, noting that 47,046 acres in the county are in state and county agricultural preservation programs.

The plan, which is still in draft stage and open to comment from the public until Feb. 27, is expected to presented to the Harford County Council on March 5, with a public hearing scheduled for April 2.

The state of Maryland requires counties to present an update of the LPPRP every six years in order to ensure state funding. The state requires the LPPRP to include agricultural land preservation, natural resource conservation, and parks, recreation and open space.

The plan is also part of the County Connector Plan along with the sewer plan, the land use plan and the priority preservation area plan. The LPPRP is implemented through the Capital Improvement Plan, McClune said.

Harford County Council President Billy Boniface spoke at the meeting about the county's upcoming facilities master plan.

"After this has been developed, as funding becomes available we'll have a non-political list of priorities that have been developed," Boniface said. He said he hoped the process for facilities funding in the county would be de-politicized.

Boniface also spoke about the memorial fund in memory of his son, who died in a car accident in June 2012. Boniface said the fund would hopefully be used to develop trails and a parking lot at Palmer State Park near Street, with possible funds from the county and state.

"It's been a long time. Palmer's State Park has been up there for some years without any development," Boniface said. "I call it the jewel of Harford County. If you look at a map, Palmer State Park is dead center."

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