Howard County Announces $8 Million in Parks & Playground Improvements

On August 5, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced $8 million to improve local parks and playground infrastructure. The improvements are made possible by Local Parks and Playground Infrastructure Funding (LPPIF) grant from the State of Maryland, with a majority of the grant supporting renovations to Centennial Park – West Area.

Improvements include athletic lighting replacements, turf baseball diamonds, one or two turf fields, and pathways. The grant will also support new playground equipment and safety surfacing for Schooley Mill and Warfields Pond parks. Aerial footage of the Centennial Park – West improvement area can be found here.

“We have some of the best parks in the country, and that is in part to our aggressive and strategic work to seek funding for parks maintenance and improvements – so our community always has the best possible environment to recreate and be outside,” said County Executive Ball. “These improvements will benefit our everyday park visitors, our many sports programs, teams, players, and coaches, and expand our portfolio of quality fields that attract tournaments and other programming to Howard County.”

Group of Howard County officials pose outdoors next to an easel with plans for park improvements on a large poster“This is a tremendous and unexpected boost for our parks which are being used more than ever now,” said District 9B Delegate Courtney Watson. “It was very important to the Maryland General Assembly to find funding to help improve infrastructure in our parks and in open space statewide.”

“Thanks to this grant, we will receive $8 million to start planned upgrades to our local parks and playgrounds,” said Director of Recreation & Parks A. Raul Delerme.  “Our parks are in high demand – they are used Monday-Sunday for practices, tournaments, league play and special events. This additional funding will allow us to not only improve existing park infrastructure but will also create even more enjoyable experiences for visitors of all ages.”

The LPPIF grant is funded by the Maryland FY2022 Capital Budget (House Bill 590 of 2021) is administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of the LPPIF is to provide funding to local governments for the design, construction and/or equipping of indoor and/or outdoor park infrastructure on County-owned and publicly accessible park property. The Howard County Council unanimously approved the Transfer of Appropriations allowing the County to design and initiate construction of the proposed improvements supported by FY 2022 LPPIF funding by Summer 2022.

As noted by Howard County officials, COVID-19 greatly increased public use of parks, which are a vital part of the overall fabric of a community’s health. Join an expert panel at the Summer MACo conference for a deep dive into this topic and learn how your county can best leverage available resources to improve parks and open spaces.

The “Investing in the Outdoors: How Parks Promote Public Health” session will take place on Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm.

The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 18-21 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Resilient. Responsive…Ready.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: