County parks awarded state funds

The Baltimore Sun

The state Board of Public Works has awarded Anne Arundel County $2.3 million to improve three parks, including building a visitor center at a popular Millersville park, developing a Crownsville park and improving athletic fields in Pasadena.

Kinder Farm Park in Millersville will receive the bulk of the Program Open Space funding, with $1.1 million going to the design and construction of a 5,600-square-foot visitor center, the state announced.

The 288-acre farm was purchased by the county in 1979 to educate visitors about Maryland's agrarian heritage and direct visitors to activities that include fishing, biking, hiking and picnicking.

The Kinder Farm Visitor Center is in an old farmhouse that cannot easily accommodate large groups.

Park ranger Shawna Chesto says the new facility will include environmental and agricultural displays, and will allow more school groups and residents to enjoy the educational opportunities at the farm.

"The park is a great place to visit and a great place to learn," she said.

The county is soliciting design consultants for the building, and hopes to begin construction by early 2010.

A $650,000 grant will allow for a new community park on General's Highway near I-97 in Crownsville that will include three sports fields, a playground and restroom facilities. The park will also supply a new connection to the 10.3-mile South Shore Trail. Construction is expected to begin in early 2010, with completion early the next year.

The Lake Shore Athletic Complex in Pasadena is to receive $600,000 to improve the 127-acre facility. The funding will add six sports fields, bleachers and lighting.

According to Frank Marzucco, county director of recreation and parks, a new dog park was added to the plan after overwhelming resident demand.

"We cherish every dollar of Program Open Space money we receive," Marzucco said.

The Maryland Board of Public Works is made up of Gov. Martin O'Malley, state Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

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