Governor Hogan Announces Outdoor Recreational Economic Commission

A Governor’s Office press release (2017-10-14) announced the formation of a new Maryland Outdoor Recreational Economic Commission (MORE). MORE was created through Executive Order 01.01.2017.24. From the press release:

This commission will be responsible for developing strategies and making recommendations to the governor to strengthen the state’s outdoor recreation industry and help ensure increased investment in our state’s outdoor recreation resources.

“Maryland is abundant with natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources that contribute significantly to our economy and quality of life,” said Governor [Larry] Hogan. “This commission will help ensure that our state’s natural heritage is strengthened, bringing new businesses, increased tourism, and ultimately preserving our resources for future generations.”

The outdoor recreation economy in Maryland already generates 109,000 direct jobs, $14 billion in consumer spending, $4.4 billion in wages and salaries, and $951 million in state and local tax revenue. Investment in outdoor recreation and nature and heritage tourism economies support many outdoor activities in Maryland, including hiking, biking, horse-back riding, paddling, boating, fishing, hunting, camping, swimming, wildlife-viewing, and visiting historic sites.

As part of their work, the commission will develop innovative strategies to market Maryland’s unique outdoor and heritage recreation brand, as well as recommend initiatives to grow and attract new companies. Additionally, the commission will explore ways to retain and support Maryland’s existing outdoor recreation businesses.

The commission will be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Mark Belton and the Secretary of the Department of Commerce Mike Gill and comprised of seventeen members appointed by the co-chairs with the approval of the governor. Members will include representatives of companies within Maryland’s outdoor recreation manufacturing and retail industry; representatives of companies representing small business outdoor or heritage recreation service providers; nonprofit organizations; representatives of gateway cities, towns, or communities; and legislative members.

The commission will provide a final report to the governor by December 1, 2019.

Useful Links

Executive Order 01.01.2017.24

Board of Public Works Approves $23 Million In Rural Legacy Grants

The Board of Public Works unanimously adopted a Maryland Department of Natural Resources recommendation approving 17 Rural Legacy Program grants – totaling over $23 million. Funding from these grants will permanently protect over 6,500 acres of working farms, forests and open space in 18 counties.

According to a press release:

The projects include protecting productive farmland, natural habitat, scenic view sheds, shorelines, wetlands, and woodlands as well as cultural, historical, and natural resources.

Established in 1997, the Rural Legacy Program is designed to preserve large tracts of productive and valuable agricultural and forested lands that contain exceptional features. The program acts through local government or private land trust sponsors to purchase conservation easements from willing property owners in 31 locally-designated rural areas located in every county. To date, the program has permanently protected 91,398 acres.

Here is a listing of Rural Legacy Program grants (alphabetically by area):

Read the full press release for more information.

“This Land is Your Land” Bus Tour Highlights Role of Program Open Space

Partners for Open Space and the Rural Maryland Council is hosting a series of bus tours called “This Land is Your Land” across the state to highlight the importance and impact of the Program Open Space. The tours are open to county officials and are free, but registration is required.


Southern Maryland Tour (2017-09-28)

Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Starting Point: Lawyers Mall, Annapolis, MD 21401

Register for Southern Maryland Tour

From the registration webpage:

Join us on the bus at Lawyers Mall at 10:00 am, and then sit back and enjoy a glimpse of preserved lands, parklands, and riverfront. We will travel down to the American Chestnut Land Trust, a Trust that has been caring for the land in a remarkable partnership with landowners and communities since 1986. From the Trust’s site on Parker’s Creek and Governor’s Run, we will cross the Patuxent River to beautiful Serenity Farm (site of early Native American settlements, John Smith’s Patuxent Journey, an early Colonial village, the British landing during the War of 1812, and much more!).

On the Farm, we will enjoy the bounty of the region, including locally sourced seafood, wine, and beer. Chat with noted historians and local agricultural innovators, discuss upcoming events with regional museum leaders, and visit an historic African American graveyard to hear the compelling tale of its discovery.

If you cannot make the bus tour but would still like to meet us for lunch, please let us know by registering for the lunch only option!

From Serenity Farm we will make our way back to Annapolis on the old roads, venturing into the Patuxent River Park at Jug Bay, and past preserved farmland and fields that have been worked since the beginning of Maryland. We return to Annapolis at 4:00 pm.

We look forward to seeing you! For more information contact Lucille Walker at 301-343-2771 or email


Central Maryland Tour (2017-09-29)

Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Starting Point: Friends of Orianda House, 1901 Eagle Drive, Baltimore, MD 21207

Register for Central Maryland Tour

From the registration webpage:

This tour begins at Leakin Park, one of the largest urban Greenspaces in the US. Tour the Orianda Mansion and adjacent chapel and learn about Program Open Space’s role in protecting these historic buildings and the outdoor education programs available in the park.

From there we will travel to Jerusalem Mills, an historic village located in Gunpowder State Park, the second most visited park in Maryland. Our tour then turns to productive agricultural land passing through vegetable farms, nurseries, and grain farms. We will stop at an historic Merryland Farm and see thoroughbred horses work out on a premier training track. Enjoy lunch at Boordy Vineyards to include produce from local farms, and some delicious Priegels Ice Cream.

If you cannot make the bus tour but would still like to meet us for lunch, please let us know by registering for the lunch only option!

We will return to Leakin Park by 3:30 pm.

For more information contact Ann Jones at 443-690-8420, or email


Eastern Shore Tour (2017-10-13)

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Starting Point: Lawyers Mall, Annapolis, MD 21401

Register for Eastern Shore Tour

From the registration webpage:

The “This Land is Your Land” Bus Tour of the Eastern Shore is Friday, October 13, 2017 and will leave from Lawyers Mall in Annapolis, MD.

Visit the brand new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, hear how Program Open Space has helped a Easton Farmer become the President of the U.S. Wheat Association, visit a local winery that is possible in part thanks to Maryland Agricultural Land Foundation funds, and hear about what will be Maryland’s newest State Park. Lunch will be served at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, in Easton, MD, and speakers will be throughout the day. The trip will be back to Annapolis before 5pm.

If you cannot make the bus tour but would still like to meet us for lunch, please RSVP!

For more information, contact Josh Hastings at 410-251-5268 or

Useful Links

Partners for Open Space Website

Rural Maryland Council Website


Cecil Announces Joint User Agreement for School-Recreation Facilities

Cecil County Executive Dr. Alan McCarthy and Cecil County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. D’Ette W. Devine have announced a joint user agreement for public school-recreation facilities throughout Cecil County.

According to a press release,

The Cecil County Government and Cecil County Public Schools have entered into a joint use of athletic facilities agreement that will benefit the citizens of Cecil County. With the first of five artificial turf athletic fields currently in the final stages of installation at Perryville High School, these two government agencies have agreed to procedures that will enhance the use of these upgraded school athletic facilities for both high school students and Cecil County citizens of all ages. Included in the agreement is the understanding at a certain time each day the control of the school athletic facilities shifts from the local high school administration to the Director of Parks and Recreation who will oversee the processes for extended use beyond the normal school activity day.

This agreement puts into action the move to regionalize the Parks and Recreation programs making activities more accessible to citizens within the region. In this first case, the region impacted will be Perryville and Port Deposit. The school athletic facilities will also be open for uses by other community recreation organizations who will receive authorization through the Department of Parks and Recreation office.

This agreement also provides school system athletic teams access to Parks and Recreation facilities including Calvert Park which is the location of the first artificial turf athletic field in Cecil County as well as multiple grass fields and outdoor basketball courts. The relationship between the county and school system has been growing in recent years and will be further enhanced through the upgrading of athletic facilities at all five Cecil County Public School High Schools.

Read the full press release for more information.

Fishing Tournament To Celebrate Oyster Restoration in Talbot County

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is hosting the Rod & Reef Slam in Talbot County October 7. The tournament will begin at 6:45 a.m. at the Lowes Wharf Marinia Inn. The cost is $50 and includes entry, food, giveaways and an afterparty. The cost is $10 if you are just attending the afterparty. Interested parties must register by Oct. 1 at

Sign up before Sept. 15 to guarantee your free Rod and Reef Slam Tournament shirt.

This fishing tournament is in celebration of the return of several fish breads to the surrounding areas of the bay.

We want to celebrate this return, keep it growing, and give Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) some data on recreational fishing opportunities around these restoration projects.

— Event Announcement on

Participants will fish on three restored oyster reefs near the mouth of the Choptank River to celebrate and compete for prizes.  Winners will be determined by number of species and lengths. Prize categories:

  • Grand Prize: Overall Highest Diversity
  • Powerboat: 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place
  • Kayak: 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place
  • Youth: 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Bay Office, Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, Coastal Conservation Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Department of National Resources have collaborated on this effort.

To read more, sign up and learn more about the waiver and contest rules visit


Reminder: County Park and Rec Plans Due to DNR


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is sending out a friendly reminder to counties that the deadline for your final Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan was July 1, 2017. (The draft version of the Plan was due December, 2016.) If you have not yet submitted your final Plan to DNR, please do so as soon as possible. Submitting a Plan is a prerequisite for a county’s participation in Maryland’s Program Open Space local-side program.

If you have any questions, please contact Land Acquisition and Planning Associate Director John Wilson at 410.260.8412 or


Governor Hogan Announces PlanMaryland Repeal at 2017 #MACoCon

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Maryland Governor “Lawrence “Larry” Hogan highlighted the achievements of his Administration, including the announcement of a new State Development Plan that would replace PlanMaryland, during his closing remarks at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference on August 19.

Hogan thanked counties for their service and noted the importance of the State partnering with the counties. He stated that his Administration has provided $22 billion in local aid during his term – the highest amount ever. Regarding his Administration, he stressed that “[we] have strived to bring state government directly to the people of Maryland.”

State Development Plan/PlanMaryland

Hogan’s primary announcement concerned the signing of a new executive order that formally repealed PlanMaryland, the State’s previous State Development Plan, and announced a new collaborative effort, which will include MACo, the Maryland Municipal League, regional planning commissions, and other stakeholders, to develop a new Plan. “We want to build a better framework for a better Maryland,” Hogan stated.

(Note: Maryland is required to adopt a State Development Plan under Title 5 of the State Finance and Procurement Article.)

Economic Development

The Governor cited many statistics related to the State’s economic development and growth, noting that Maryland nationally ranks: (1) 3rd in entrepreneurship; (2) 3rd in research and development; (3) 2nd in STEM employment; (4) 2nd for the lowest poverty rate; and (5) 1st  in median household income. He stated Maryland has gained 110,000 jobs under his Administration and has nationally gone from 49th to 7th in economic growth.

Public Education

Hogan noted the FY 2018 Budget delivered a record investment in public education, including community colleges and libraries, for the third year in a row.

Chesapeake Bay

Hogan discussed the ongoing work of restoring the Chesapeake Bay, noting that the Bay recently received its highest grade for water quality in 25 years. He stated that his Administration has invested a record $3 billion in bay restoration efforts, including additional funding for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund and restoring previously cut funding to the Bay Restoration Fund.

He summarized his actions regarding the sediment and nutrient challenge posed by the Conowingo Dam and stated he was issuing a “request for proposals” for test dredging of the Conowingo basin. Hogan also reiterated that he repealed the 2012 best available technology for nitrogen removal (BAT) septic system requirement everywhere in the State. The BAT requirement remains within the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area and counties have the option of requiring BAT systems for individual sites or more broadly.

Zero Waste

The Governor also summarized his recent executive order repealing a previous ban on permits for county landfills and stated that his Administration is not abandoning zero waste principles but transitioning to a more collaborative process. According to Hogan, the new process stresses three Rs: “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Opioid Crisis

Hogan briefly touched on the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic, noting that he has declared a state of emergency over the issue and has provided $50 million in new funding and over $500 million in total funding to fight the problem. He stated that it will take all levels of government to solve the problem and urged counties to help fast-track authority for their local health departments to take advantage of the newly available funding.

Program Open Space and Land Acquisition Programs

Hogan highlighted the $360 million for Program Open Space (POS) and other land acquisition programs. He noted this was the first time POS was fully funded in more than a decade. He also praised legislation introduced by his Administration that provided some protections for future POS funding.


The Governor touted his transportation actions, including providing $14.8 billion in the state’s consolidated transportation plan that has enabled approximately 1,000 transportation projects throughout the state. He also noted that his Administration successfully repealed “the disastrous road kill bill” (formally titled the “Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016” and also known as the “scorecard bill”).

On the subject of Highway User Revenues (HUR), Hogan noted his Administration recently announced an additional $38 million in grants for local transportation projects and pledged, “We will not stop fighting for you until we have fully restored highway user revenues to their historic levels.”

Concluding Remarks

Hogan concluded by posing a challenge to the attendees. “Each and every day we are given the opportunity to do something great,” he said, and urged everyone to make the most of each day. The Governor pledged that his Administration “can and will continue to change Maryland for the better.”

Other Information

MACo President and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

MACo President and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz introduced the Governor and also stressed the importance of the MACo Summer Conference. “We take great pride in the quantity, quality, and diversity of our [conference] panels,” he stated. Kamenetz also noted the Conference provides valuable informal opportunities to share ideas and information.

Kamenetz presided over a $5,000 award by the Maryland/Delaware/DC Beverage Association for the best county booth. The award went to Kent County for a charity of the county’s choice. The County chose the Kent Center – a nonprofit that provides cooking and meal preparation jobs to adults with developmental disabilities. The County brought treats prepared by the Center to the MACo Conference’s Taste of Maryland Reception.

Useful Links

Governor Hogan Webpage

Executive Order 01.01.2017.18 State Development Plan

Kevin Kamenetz Baltimore County Webpage

Maryland Delaware DC Beverage Association Facebook Page

Kent Center Website


Hogan Stresses Bay & Environmental Achievements in Sun Op-Ed

In a Baltimore Sun op-ed (2017-08-10), Maryland Governor Lawrence “Larry” Hogan discussed his Administration’s efforts on restoring the Chesapeake Bay and the need for Maryland to find a solution for the sediment and nutrient pollution posed by the Conowingo Dam. The dam basin, which for decades has served as a trap for sediment and nutrients flowing down the Susquehanna River, appears to be at capacity.

Hogan noted that his Administration has: (1) spent $3 billion in Bay restoration efforts in two and a half years; (2) restored funding for Program Open Space and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund; (3) developed a new Phosphorus Management Tool for agriculture; (4) enacted a revised Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act and Maryland Climate Change Commission; (5) prohibited natural gas hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”) in the State; (6) worked to update the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); (7) undertaken infrastructure resiliency efforts based on climate change, sea level rise, and severe weather events; (8) supported clean cars and electric vehicle legislation; and (9) invested in green jobs and clean energy.

From the op-ed:

In today’s world, far too much of our public discourse has degraded to half-truths and personal attacks rather than conversation and compromise. One obvious casualty has been the environment, which is now routinely used as a wedge instead of a common cause. Finding the right balance on environmental policy is important, but we all aspire to achieve the same goals — protecting and preserving the natural world we inhabit for our children and grandchildren.

Hogan called for finding “common ground” on environmental issues and taking “smart and balanced actions” to further environmental protection and promote economic growth.


Work Begins on First Sports and Recreation “Smart City” in the Nation

Source: Johnson Controls

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2017-08-09) reported that work is under way on the first sports and entertainment “smart city” in the nation. Johnson Controls has started development on the Hall of Fame Village LLC at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and will be the largest construction project in the state. Johnson Controls is working in conjunction with the Hall of Fame and Industrial Reality Group. According to the article, the project began in 2016 and the village is expected to open in 2020 (for the National Football Leagues 100th anniversary) with final build-out occurring by 2040. The development is estimated to cost $700 million and will generate $15.3 billion in new revenue over a 25-year period. From the article:

A professional services contract calls for Johnson Controls’ products, services and solutions to be used within the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, including the museum. This will provide for the creation of a showcase “smart city” with the company providing a suite of building management systems to assure “world-class” environments and yield significant operational cost savings over the life of the agreement, according to the partners. …

Just as important are the smart technologies that will bring the village to life — technologies related to heating and cooling, fire and security, lighting, the fan experience and scoreboard, and a building- and campus-wide operating system. The operating system will allow window shades to adjust according to the movement of the sun, lights to dim as more natural light enters rooms, employees to control cubicle temperature and security cameras to capture faces of people entering and exiting buildings as identification badges appear on monitoring screens.

“Our innovative, integrated, technologies will provide the right combination of safety and security at the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village in an environment that demonstrates how we connect ‘cities’ that run smartly and reliably,” said Kim Metcalf-Kupres, vice president and chief marketing officer, Johnson Controls.

The project will include the following facilities: (1) Hall of Fame Museum; (2) Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium; (3) Black College Football Hall of Fame; (4) National Youth Football and Sports Complex; (5) 25,000 square-foot four-star hotel and conference center; (6) Hall of Fame Promenade (a mixed-use restaurant, retail, and residential area); (7) The Center for EXCELLENCE (a coaches university); (8) performance center; (9) player care center; and (10) Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Experience (a $120 million virtual reality experience and waterpark).

Useful Links

Hall of Fame Village Website

Local Governments Spur Maryland Job Growth

In June 2017, Maryland’s local governments added 2,100 jobs – a big difference from the other states in the Mid-Atlantic region. Those states – Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania, and Virginia –  lost 6,200 local government jobs.

For the second straight month, Maryland’s unemployment fell by a tenth of a percent, reports Daraius Irani, Ph.D., Vice President, Division of Innovation and Applied Research and Chief Economist, Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI), of Towson University. Maryland’s unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, while the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region maintains a constant rate of 4.6 percent.

According to Dr. Irani:

Maryland’s job growth was robust, with job losses only occurring in three industries:

  1. Manufacturing which lost 600 jobs,
  2. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities which lost 400 jobs, and
  3. Leisure and Hospitality which lost 100 jobs.

Job losses in Manufacturing are not especially surprising. …. The increase in automation has been changing employment in the industry for some time, and it doesn’t seem like the job losses are quite finished. …

Other strong sectors of growth for Maryland include Health Care and Social Assistance, which added 5,600 jobs last month. This dwarfs the total increase in neighboring states, who combined to only add 1,000 jobs in the sector in June. The healthcare industry has been one of Maryland’s employment bedrocks, and this does not look likely to change in the short term. However, this does mean that changes in the sector as a result of the ongoing debate over the ACA and AHCA could have large ripple effects in Maryland’s economy.

With job growth in Maryland booming – particularly for local governments – it is no wonder that this year’s theme for the MACo summer conference next week in Ocean City is “You’re Hired!”

Learn about how automation is changing county employment at the MACo summer conference session, Will Your Next County Employee be…a Robot?

Listen to public health experts discuss potential impacts of ACA and AHCA on Maryland counties at the session, ABCs of the ACA, AHCA, BCRA, and Health Care in Maryland.

And, see Dr. Irani himself, on the panel, Parks & Recreation: A Healthy (and Wealthy) Investment.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: