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New Troy Park will give locals another place to play [Bits & Pieces]

When I used to go to Fairland Regional Park on Old Gunpowder Road in Laurel, usually for a hockey event at The Gardens Ice House, I always came away with the wish that someday Howard County would have a regional park to match that one. I was here in the early 1970s when this county had no regional facility and no expectation of ever building one.

Well it is now September of 2014, and we finally have something special here with Saturday's grand opening of the first phase of Troy Park off of Route 1 in Elkridge. It wasn't that long ago when there were plans to build a major tennis center there that would host national and international events. That project went belly-up, but we are now on the eve of the start of a premiere regional sports facility right in our own backyard. No, we don't have an aquatics center or a hockey rink like the one in Laurel, but when finished in 2018, we will have three synthetic turf baseball fields, a community center, an indoor field house for track and basketball, four artificial turf fields and even a playground.

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I went to Troy Park shortly after county executive Ken Ulman, several elected officials, and John Byrd, the director of Howard County Recreation and Parks, officially opened the new complex. What I saw was the first phase of a five-phase project that far surpassed anything that I played on when I was a kid. The first phase consisted of two beautiful artificial turf fields, and some young football teams were already trying them out.

Many years ago I attended a sports dinner. The person sitting opposite me asked me where I was from and I answered Howard County. That confused him. He asked me if that was near Pennsylvania. Those were the days when Howard County, with just two high schools, didn't register with outsiders. Come to Howard County now and you'll find beautiful, modern recreation and sports facilities. Check out Western Regional Park built in 2006, Blandair Park, which is still being completed, and now Troy Park, and tell me that we can't measure up to any regional park anywhere.

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John Byrd hit the nail on the head when he told me that "it is a privilege to be able to bring this level of expertise to Howard County."

Hats off to the recreation and parks department and to those in our county administration and government who believe in giving our residents the best in sports and recreation. These capital projects weren't done by a single person. They were done by many with the goal of serving the community.

Women's Hall of Fame

The Women's Athletics Hall of Fame will hold its 2014 inductions on Jan. 31 at Mt. Hebron High School. This induction will mark the first time that an entire team will enter the Hall. That team is Dave Greenberg's Mt. Hebron Vikings, who won the 1980 girls basketball state championship. It was the first Howard County girls basketball team to win a state title.

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Most of that team has been located and will hopefully attend. They are Linda Lyman Asbell, Ruta Siaurusaitis Scribner, Lori Lerman, Dorothea Beck, Julie Dryer Ehlers, Sue Becraft Burris, Karen Tessmer, Susie Makowski and Linda Moody Hodiak. Three of the players have not been located as of this date. They are Julie Klein, Leslie Bender and Lenore Ebbersberger.

Others who will be inducted are Sharron Smith, who starred in track at Wilde Lake and now coaches a youth track team; Sharon Schmickley, a standout athlete at Mt. Hebron and now division chair of the business and computers department at Howard Community College; and Camille Powell Kilgore, a three-sport state champion athlete at Howard High and a sports writer for the Washington Post.

The induction ceremony will start at 6 p.m. and will be preceded by an alumnae game. The committee is looking for more players for that alumnae game so if you are interested please contact Carol Gralia at cgralia@verizon.net. The committee is also seeking future nominees for the Hall of Fame.

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