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The new portion of the Northeast Trail in Perry Hall begins at Ebenezer Road, curves through woods, wraps behind Perry Hall High School and connects to the Silver Hall neighborhood.

It's a winding path that mirrors how this $423,000 project came to be.

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The trail at Indian Rock Park, a paved walkway that's compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, is part of property the county bought in 1998 as an alternative to development, according to David Marks, the county councilman who represents the community — and who was previously president of the Perry Hall Community Association. About five years later, the county turned it into a park.

"It's hard to imagine a condominium development here," said Marks, a Perry Hall Republican.

Marks and other county officials, as well as activists from the community, gathered last week to officially open the trail, though it's already a popular spot.

"It's actively used by hikers and bikers, a lot of parents with strollers," Marks said. "These are the types of projects that really enhance the community."

The project's completion follows preservation of 38 acres of forested land in Perry Hall in 2012. Officials said re-classification of that land protected two locations: an 8-acre portion in western Perry Hall and another 30 acres north and south of Indian Rock Park.

The trail helps connect access to those parcels, and has been a priority in the county's eastern bike and pedestrian plan and the Perry Hall Community Plan. Although the new segment is relatively small — three-fifths of a mile — officials said it's an important link tying in with other trails as part of an effort to create a network of trails, sidewalks and bike paths throughout Perry Hall.

Funding for the path came from several sources. In addition to county funds, the project benefited from a $90,000 grant from the State Highway Administration, $126,000 from the Maryland Bikeways Program and $100,000 from Maryland Program Open Space.

Marks and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz also noted the trail's role in an overall recreational strategy for Perry Hall.

Other recent enhancements in the Perry Hall area include the $3 million Soukup Arena, the $3.5 million, 17-acre Gough Park and the $205,000 Perry Paw Dog Park completed last spring at Honeygo Run Regional Park.

At Friday's ceremony, Kamenetz said such projects enhance the quality of life for residents, and represent "exactly what we need to be doing here in the county."

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