ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today outlined his funding priorities for improvements in Recreation & Parks facilities in the Capital Improvement Budget for Fiscal Year 2017, highlighting accelerated funding for the 3rd phase of development for Blandair Park in Columbia. Improving recreational opportunities for Howard County residents is among his top goals, Kittleman said.
“Our parks, playgrounds, open spaces and recreational programs are often cited as among the top reasons people chose to live in Howard County. Even in times when we must budget prudently and carefully, we will continue to upgrade and expand our recreational opportunities to encourage residents to live healthy and fulfilling lives,” Kittleman said.
The announcement was made in the 298-acre Blandair Regional Park located off Maryland Route 175 in Columbia. The $3.25 million project, Phase 3 of a multi-year investment, will feature a “Play-for-All” playground, designed for use by children of all abilities, and include an area for back-yard games, such as bocce, croquet and horseshoes, as well as a maintenance facility serving the entire park, a dog-park, picnic shelter and restrooms.
“It is a priority for us to provide inclusive recreational facilities in our parks,” Kittleman said. He added that he has also instructed the Department of Recreation & Parks to begin planning for an aquatics addition at the North Laurel Community Center using funds that have already been earmarked for this purpose.
Howard County’s 56 parks and 9,100 acres of public land are overseen by Director of Recreation & Parks John Byrd, who stressed the importance of the Blandair project.
“Even in these challenging times, we are pleased that the County Executive is able to prioritize project funding in the FY 2017 Capital Improvement Program to include several of the
Recreation & Parks projects. We look forward in the continuing progress on Blandair Park and renovating some of our older facilities,” Byrd said.
The first phase of Blandair Regional Park, opened in 2012, contains a sports facility with three synthetic-turf, multi-purpose playing fields, a playground, restroom and pavilion. The second phase, now under construction, includes two synthetic-turf ball fields, five tennis courts and another playground and restroom. Phase 2 is expected to be complete by spring of 2017.