Area parks get funds for improvements

October 05, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

What is Program Open Space?

Program Open Space (POS) is a nationally recognized program that provides dedicated funds for Maryland's state and local parks and conservation areas. The program was established in 1969 by the Department of Natural Resources.

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County recently received more than $280,000 in state grants for area parks.

About $167,000 will be spent in Hagerstown, according to information released by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Boonsboro and Smithsburg also received grants from Program Open Space, which provides funds for Maryland's state and local parks, and conservation areas.

Hagerstown's Jacob Wheaton Park received $27,000 to replace 20-year-old playground equipment, said Junior Mason, the city's parks and recreation superintendent.

"We're updating it with new amenities, new playground equipment," he said.

Officials hope that work at the park will be completed by spring.

Hellane Park, also in Hagerstown, was awarded $67,812 to improve its parking lot.


Mason said the parking lot is stone, and officials will spend the money on blacktop for the lot. He said the work will include lining the spaces.

"Now, people just park wherever," Mason said. "There are no lines on the spaces. We'll reconfigure it and increase parking."

Hagerstown's City Park received a $45,000 grant to replace playground equipment. Mason said the equipment is more than 20 years old.

"It's old," he said. "And not that it's unsafe, but when things are breaking, you can't buy replacement parts for it. We're making it work ... But we need to replace it, so we can bring it up to date."

Mason said more than $10,000 will be spent at Fairgrounds Park to buy park benches and picnic tables.

City spokeswoman Karen Giffin said Hagerstown's Claude M. Potterfield Pool was awarded $27,360 to add a slide and other items to its baby pool.

"Our goal is to have them up and running for next summer when we open up," she said.

Boonsboro received a $77,760 grant to replace playground equipment at Shafer Park and to renovate four pavilions there, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Smithsburg's Lions Community Park was awarded a $37,350 grant to replace playground equipment.

Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said it has been about 15 years since the equipment there was improved.

"It hasn't been refurbished and added to for quite some time, and we just felt it was time," she said.

Myers said the playground equipment will be updated, including work that will make it safer.

"Anything that has to do with making it a little bit safer and expanding a little more on the type of equipment we have," she said.

More than $10 million in Program Open Space money was distributed in Maryland, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

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