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State OKs $2 million to buy N. Laurel land; 23 acres near school will be used for park


North Laurel residents are one step closer to getting the community park they've wanted for years.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced yesterday that the state Board of Public Works had approved more than $2 million in Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space funds to acquire 23 acres at Washington, Howard and Park avenues in North Laurel, next to Laurel Woods Elementary School.

Glendening said the park, when developed, will serve the needs of more than 16,000 residents.

"Today, we have preserved the only remaining large tract of open space in North Laurel Park, one of Howard County's most highly developed communities," Glendening said in a statement. "Neighborhood families who used to travel several miles to the nearest recreational facility now will have a local park to enjoy picnics and nature hikes."

Community groups welcomed Glendening's announcement, saying that a park in the North Laurel area is long overdue.

"This area was deprived of a park for a long time," said Tom Flynn, president of the North Laurel Association. "I think it's great that we're finally getting one."

Flynn said the county had plans to develop a park in the area in 1968, but they fell through.

The Board of Public Works, chaired by Glendening, approves major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.

No immediate plans are in place to develop the park, but uses and development could include ball fields, tennis courts and a playground.

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