Park project requests exceed budget

December 27, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Park project requests exceed budget

Washington County has been asked to help build or improve five parks over the next six years, Washington County Planning Director Robert Arch said Wednesday.

The county might not be able to do that as fast as some would like if funding requests exceed the money available for such projects, Arch said.

The county's Recreation and Parks Advisory Board has asked local governments to consider spreading out funding requests over a longer period of time, according to Arch.

As with other Maryland counties, Washington County receives Program Open Space money each year from the state government to pay for the acquisition of open space land or the development of parks and recreation facilities, Arch said.


According to county documents, the requests for funds include these projects at the following parks:

-- Hagerstown Fairgrounds: Completing land acquisition, building a soccer pavilion, softball seating plaza, skateboard park and a new entrance. Next year's funding request is $276,750.

-- North County Park at Leitersburg Pike and Marsh Pike: The county is asking for $180,000 next year to pay to develop the park.

-- Hancock: The block of Main Street west of Methodist Avenue, where homes damaged by flooding are being purchased and the land is to be turned into a park. The town is requesting $80,000 in fiscal 2003. Each fiscal year starts July 1.

There are also requests for $81,000 in fiscal 2004 and $110,000 in fiscal 2005.

-- Boonsboro's Shafer Park: $350,000 next year for acquiring 34.87 acres of the King farm. The town also wants $9,000 to improve the park's stream.

Boonsboro also wants about $900,000 in future fiscal years for park improvements on the King Farm property, including an indoor swimming facility, as well as soccer, football, softball and baseball fields.

-- Smithsburg's Veterans Park: $104,430 next year for a pavilion with restrooms. The town is also asking for more than $221,068 over the following five years.

All costs in the documents are estimates, Arch said.

The parks board was able to fund most projects last year, but complete funding may become more difficult in this and future years as requests exceed the available money, he said.

The Recreation and Parks Advisory Board has received about $1.5 million in requests, but has budgeted only $750,000.

The shortfall may be eased somewhat by additional money from the state but it is too soon to know how much might be forthcoming, Arch said.

The board usually makes recommendations in January on the level of funding, if any, for each project for which money is requested for the following fiscal year.

The County Commissioners later vote on the recommendations.

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