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Program Open Space to aid county projects

February 10, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Two Washington County projects will be aided by a total of more than $100,000, which was approved last week by Governor Robert Ehrlich, according to a Department of Natural Resources news release.

The governor announced last week that the state Board of Public Works approved $168,301 for use for projects in Allegany, Frederick and Washington counties through Program Open Space, the Department of Natural Resources said.

More than half of that total will be used on two projects in Washington County - $70,000 for the final reimbursement payment to the City of Hagerstown for its purchase of Fairgrounds Park and $38,160 to construct an overnight camping area at the Western Maryland Rail Trail Park at Hancock for hikers and bikers, according to DNR.

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More than 4,600 county and municipal parks and conservation projects have been completed through Program Open Space, DNR said.

Hagerstown City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said this is the last of seven allocations through the state program to reimburse the city, which agreed to purchase the land about eight years ago. He said Project Open Space has been "crucial" to the city's effort to preserve that land, a total of 66 acres, for public use.

That land was sold to the city by the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, also known as CHIEF, a group started by a group of county business owners.

Improvements to Hancock's park will include the installation of six campsites, grills, picnic tables, bathrooms, a parking lot and a pavilion, according to the department.

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