Funding builds on County’s proposed investment of $8.3 million for Recreation and Parks improvements

Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was joined by local and state officials to announce $1.5 million in State for the Savage Mill Trail and the Patapsco Regional Greenway spur connecting Elkridge to the Guinness Brewery in Baltimore County.

“Our parks and our trails are one of our greatest resources as a County, and with today’s announcement we’re making significant progress towards expanded green infrastructure and connectivity to communities throughout our region,” said Ball. “Especially during the past year, our residents and community have utilized Howard County’s parks and trails more than ever – getting outside to walk, bike, and more. We know what an asset our parks and trails are to our community, which is why we’re constantly working to protect and improve these resources for our residents. We’re incredibly grateful to our local and state delegation and advocates who have tirelessly worked to make these projects a reality.”

“Covid has really heightened the importance of outdoor recreational opportunities and enjoying our natural world,” said Senator Guy Guzzone. “The Delegation was very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the county to help fund these great projects that enhance the community and provide important outlets for county residents.”
“We’re thrilled to be able to support these important trail and park improvements. Connecting Historic Elkridge to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery with a spur of the Patapsco Regional Greenway will be a tremendous enhancement for both Howard and Baltimore Counties,” said Delegate Jessica Feldmark. “I am grateful to all of the community members who worked together providing input on the alignment and design of this trail and am excited to see the project moving forward.”

“Over the past year, residents have relied on our parks and open space for recreation and comfort during a very difficult time. These trail enhancements are a welcomed and important investment in the Savage community,” said Councilwoman Christiana Rigby. “I am grateful to County Executive Ball and our State Delegation for their continued support and advocacy for Savage with these important projects.”

Savage Trail
The County received a $250,000 grant to support critical repairs to the Savage Mill Trail. The Savage Mill Trail provides 1.16 miles of trail space within Savage Park, traveling along the escarpment above the southern side of the Little Patuxent River, along an old rail line path terminating at a turnaround north of the mill ruins. The funding will support the construction of a variety of repairs within the park, including the replacement of collapsed culverts, steep slope stabilization, rehabilitation of timber stairs accessing the trail, and a re-design of the picnic viewing area.

This funding builds on County efforts to expand green infrastructure in the Savage area, after a $1.725 million investment to secure the Savage remainder parcel last year, blocking the development of 4.8 acres of land in Howard County’s Green Infrastructure Network and preserving it as open space. Ball has also included $1.9 million in his proposed Capital budget allocated to rehabilitate and expand the existing pathway and trail systems extending from Savage Park through Columbia to Dorsey’s Search and throughout the County.

“The financial commitment from the State helps the department’s goal to improve our current pathway and trail system connectivity,” said Howard County Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. “This funding will allow for needed repairs to be completed along the Savage Mill trail. We will re-design and replace a picnic river overlook along the trail, reconstruct a timber stair structure, replace two collapsed culverts, install a stone wall and drainage swale to stabilize a steep bank from eroding and create a cascade structure up-stream to stabilize channel erosion.”

“The Savage Community Association (SCA) is grateful that state funding to provide critical repairs for the Savage Mill Trail, coupled with County budgeted park and trail improvements, will help assure Savage Park remains a natural oasis in an increasingly urbanized area,” said Susan Garber, SCA Board Chair.

Ball’s proposed FY 2022 Capital Budget invests $8.3 million in renovations to existing facility infrastructure and park improvement projects in Howard County. Prior appropriation for Blandair Park will allow the County to proceed with the design of Phase 6, which includes ongoing design for site grading, utilities, a skatepark, outdoor basketball courts and a parking lot. Prior appropriation for Troy Park will allow for the revised design and partial construction of ancillary facilities for Field #1, which includes restrooms, a storage space, grandstand bleachers, and other site enhancements.

In FY 2022, the County anticipates approximately $1.3 million in State Program Open Space funding eligible for park development projects. This funding will support the completion of Field #1 improvements at Troy Park and the replacement of aged park infrastructure at multiple sites. Additionally, the proposed budget includes an estimated $995,000 in Program Open Space land acquisition funding, which increases our capabilities to pursue parkland acquisition opportunities as they arise.

Patapsco Regional Greenway
The State provided a $1.25 million grant to support a spur of the Patapsco Regional Greenway that would connect Elkridge to the Guinness Brewery in Halethorpe (Baltimore County). The trail route starts at the existing underpass close to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery via the existing power line maintenance road. The route brings visitors into Historic Elkridge via a bridge over the Patapsco River. The $1.25 million in State funding for Howard County will provide the local match needed to secure a State Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to support construction of the trail.

The Patapsco Regional Greenway Plan envisions a 40-mile, shared-use trail running through the Patapsco Valley from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to Sykesville in Carroll County. This trail, if and when completed, would pass through or near the communities of Cherry Hill, Baltimore Highlands, Halethorpe, Elkridge, Catonsville, Ellicott City, Oella, Daniels, Woodstock, Marriottsville, and Sykesville.

“Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG) are especially excited that this section of pathway will be developed within the recent expansion area of the (Patapsco Valley) Heritage Area, supporting the goal to eventually link the communities from Southwest Park near the Baltimore line to Sykesville with safe trails through this historic region,” said Steve Wachs, PHG Board President.

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View all photos from the event here:

Watch the video from the event here:

Scott E

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