(Feb. 1, 2019) The Worcester County Commissioners unanimously approved a revised Land Preservation and Parks plan during a meeting last Tuesday.
The state-mandated plan is designed to improve and preserve park, recreation and open spaces in in the county. Each county must update its plan every six years in order to remain eligible for Maryland Program Open Space grants.
The revisions were favorably recommended during a January planning commission meeting.
The previous plan was signed in February 2018, but County Planner Katherine Munson said minor changes were needed to keep the county eligible for the same level of state funding it received the prior year. For example, a previous matching agreement was for a 90/10 “reimbursement formula” from the state, but it was changed to a 75/25 match, according to the revised proposal.
“The state brought to our attention that due to some of the content of our plan, the county would receive a decrease in state matching funds,” Munson said in January. “Counties with a deficit in recreational land are penalized with a significantly reduced Program Open State match.”
Munson said additional changes included proximity analysis of fields at public and private schools, multipurpose fields, playing fields and the Half Mile Service Area, and agreements between several schools and the county’s department of recreation and parks.
Commissioner Chip Bertino moved to approve the revised plan, which was seconded by Commissioner Joshua Nordstrom.