BALTIMORE — The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved more than $4.7 million in grants to reduce pollution and improve water quality, the Maryland Department of the Environment has announced. Garrett County was awarded $40,000.
According to MDE, grants from the Bay Restoration Fund will provide funding for 18 counties to upgrade on-site sewage disposal (septic) systems and make sewer connections to “significantly” reduce the discharge of nitrogen, one of the most serious pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay.
ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports about 5,000 hikers took advantage of sunny and mild weather New Year’s Day, joining the DNR in the state’s annual First Day Hikes initiative.
Hikers logged more than 10,000 miles on trails in parks and public lands all across Maryland, according to DNR.
Park rangers, staff and volunteers guided hikers of all experience levels ringing in the new year on the trail. With 43 hikes at more than 30 locations, the Maryland Park Service registered 3,834 hikers participating in guided hikes, while 1,152 people hiked 1,516 miles on their own — a grand total of 4,986 hikers, not counting many who didn’t check in with a ranger. Even more people hiked in Maryland’s state forests, wildlife management areas and other public lands.
MTN. LAKE PARK — Plans for Leo Martin Memorial Park are moving along. Mountain Lake Park officials reviewed landscape designer Daniel Lucas’ latest rendering of the project during their council meeting last Thursday.
The butterfly-shaped park is to be located near the corner of Md. 135 and G Street on the site where the Bashford Amphitheater once stood. Martin served as mayor of Mountain Lake Park for 16 years.
Officials discussed the park design, which features flower beds shrubbery, fitness areas, a splash pad, a pavilion where weddings and other activities can be held, an outdoor fireplace, swings, as well as spaces where tents can be set up for festivals and other events.
In the center of the “butterfly” will be a silo-like tower with manufactured stone veneer and a spire top.
“It’s almost like a little castle that’s going to be really visible to the highway,” Mayor Don Sincell said. “It’ll have a spiral staircase and slides for kids.”
Lucas’ current plan shows a circular elevated stage with grass-terrace seating. Sincell noted, however, this feature might be changed.
The town has received Program Open Space and Community Parks and Playgrounds Program grants from the state totaling $235,000 for the project.
Sincell provided a brief update on Mountain Chautauqua, which is slated for July in Mountain Lake Park.
OAKLAND — The Strategic Facilities Committee, established and appointed in March by the Garrett County Board of Education, detailed its final report during a public meeting Tuesday with recommendations to address enrollment, demographic data and the community’s concerns and preferences.
Some recommendations in the capital projects plan include the establishment of a joint working group composed of staff of the Board of Education and county government to further identify and coordinate the program; to add security in the form of five security vestibules that help improve control of the school environment by allowing administrators and staff to know who’s in the building at all times; to address disruptive behavior by building dedicated spaces for de-escalation that get students back in the classroom as soon as possible; to undertake projects identified by the superintendent and staff that are in need of upgrade or replacement; and to enclose open-space classrooms to reduce noise and distractions for students.
Funding for the capital program is estimated to cost $50.6 million over six years, an average of $8.4 million per year.
David Lever, facilitator of Education Facilities Planning LLC and a part of the facilities commission, provided a comparison using current replacement value.
The replacement value of county schools is approximately $232 million and the industry standard capital expenditure is 2%. When added with deferred maintenance, the total in comparison comes to $99 million, an average of $9.9 million per year.
McHENRY — The Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Maryland Heritage Area was notified that one of the Garrett County projects on the reserve list was awarded funding by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.
Garrett College Foundation was awarded a project grant for $100,000 for development of the Garrett College to Ag Hall Heritage Trail.
“In July, the Town of Oakland received funding for the Oakland Heritage Trail and the Chamber (of Commerce) was awarded a Heritage Area management grant totaling $129,631 so we were thrilled to receive additional funding from the reserve list this year,” said Kim Folk, heritage area & groups director for the chamber. “That brings the FY20 grand total of MHAA grant funding to $229,631 for the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area. These grants will allow the recipients to expand awareness of Garrett County’s historical and cultural heritage.”
The Ag Hall Heritage trail will provide locals and visitors a trail from Garrett College to the Agriculture Heritage Hall at the Fairgrounds, both located on Mosser Road. This trail will connect the two largest event venues in the county, as well as adding to the counties already growing and extensive trail system. Interpretive signage will be included along the route.