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Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Nearly $23 Million in Funding for State Park Improvements

Green projects, capital improvements will support nearly 300 jobs

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 13, 2012) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced nearly $23 million in the proposed FY2013 capital budget for State Park and other public land projects that will support nearly 300 jobs, help restore our environment, reduce energy usage and improve services to visitors and citizens.

Governor O’Malley made the announcement at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, one of the State’s busiest parks where energy efficient upgrades, stormwater management improvements, better natural play areas for children, and sustainable trails for families will be part of the State’s investment.

“Today, we’re proposing to invest $22.7 million from our capital budget to make much-needed improvements to our State Parks – an investment that will support nearly 300 jobs in our State, help us make our parks more sustainable, and support our thriving tourism industry,” said Governor O’Malley. “Our State Parks are tremendous economic engines in our State with a $650 million annual impact in on our local economies, a great resource for Maryland families, and a big part of why our tourism industry remains so strong even in tough times.”

The funding includes more than $14 million in enhancements from the Governor’s capital budget, in addition to $8.7 million derived from the Department of Natural Resources annual transfer tax allocation for a diverse set of projects to improve infrastructure, green the State’s parks and protect the Bay.

“I applaud Governor O’Malley for making this critical investment in our public lands, during these difficult financial times,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “This improvement effort recalls the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which built many of Maryland’s State Parks, creating jobs, ‘greening’ public lands as conservation models and inspiring millions of visitors with better places to enjoy our State’s natural beauty and unique heritage.”

Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley, the Maryland Park Service has embarked on a system-wide commitment to “green” its 66 state parks – which host more than 10 million visitors each year –as models of sustainability and conservation best practices. Strategic actions to date have focused on energy improvements, new state-of-the-art green building design and construction, sustainable trails and recycling, as well as environmental restoration including reforestation and stormwater management improvements to help the Bay.

In addition to providing unparalleled recreation opportunities for citizens and visitors, State Parks provide summer employment and green jobs training for at risk youth through the Governor’s Conservation Jobs Corps, which has graduated 820 young people since 2008. In 2010 their work on maintenance, landscaping and construction jobs saved the State an estimated $2.7 million dollars.

Looking ahead, the State’s parks will also serve as outdoor classrooms for the State’s new environmental literacy requirements.

“State Parks are the epitome of affordable getaways for families, models for living in harmony with nature, and a vital tonic for the mind, body and spirit,” said Tim Casey, Chair of the Governor’s State Park Advisory Commission. “These strategic investments will benefit millions of Marylanders, increasing access to the outdoors, creating jobs and restoring the environment for today and future generations.”

The Maryland State Parks Economic Impact and Visitor Study is available online here.

Proposed FY ’13 Park Improvement Projects
(in millions)

Green Park Projects (Enhancements)   
   
Project Title Cost
Assateague State Park – Green Bathhouse Renovations $2.10
North Point State Park – Pier Replacement and Shore Erosion
Control $1.91
Sandy Point State Park – Green Infrastructure Improvements $1.70
State Parks – New Natural Playgrounds $1.40
Point Lookout State Park – Parking Lot Improvements $0.95
State Parks – Green Cabin Renovations $0.90
Total (in millions) $8.96
   
Additional Park Improvement Projects (Enhancements)  
   
Project Title Cost
Sandy Point State Park – Boat Ramp Area Improvements $2.50
Rocky Gap State Park – Office Renovations $0.77
State Parks – Removal of Impermeable Surface $0.54
Point Lookout State Park – Lighthouse Complex Renovations $0.40
Wellington Wildlife Management Area – Office Renovations $0.34
Elk Neck State Park Improvements $0.24
Garrett County State Parks – Trail Construction $0.15
Western Maryland Recreational Access and Trail Restoration $0.15
Total (in millions) $5.09
   
Planned Park Improvement Projects  
   
Project Title Cost
Critical Maintenance Projects $4.08
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park $2.68
Western Maryland Rail Trail Project $1.90
Total (in millions) $8.66

The FY2013 budget will continue the Administration’s commitment to job creation, rebuilding the state’s infrastructure, building state-of-the-art classrooms, and contributing to Maryland’s communities. This year’s capital budget alone will support approximately 22,000 direct jobs for Marylanders. The FY2013 budget will be the sixth budget the Governor has submitted to the General Assembly that complies with Spending Affordability guidelines. By choosing to strategically reform and reduce the size of state government and make tough decisions, Maryland remains one of only nine states to maintain a Triple A Bond Rating, a seal of fiscal responsibility certified by all three major rating agencies that allows the State to maximize the impact of its capital budget.

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