Support for Blandair Park

I served on the Blandair Planning Committee, which met once a month for approximately 18 months. There were three public hearings, and the committee considered all comments before it voted to accept the master plan for Blandair Regional Park. This public process was the most intense that the Department of Recreation and Parks has ever offered. There were representatives from Oakland Mills, Long Reach, Hickory Ridge, Owen Brown and Glenmont. We also accepted written comments on a monthly basis and assessed the needs that were demonstrated by the community.

The master plan offers environmental areas for schoolchildren to explore nature and history. In addition, there are seven athletic fields proposed for this park, which are equal to approximately 19 total acres. Blandair is 300 acres, and the majority of it will be left in its natural condition. Although Blandair is not a pristine environment, because it has been heavily farmed since the middle of the 18th century, this park will be a jewel for Howard County. It will serve both the environmental and active recreational interests of the county's citizens.

The Recreation and Parks Board often hears from communities and people who don't support the end result of extensive park planning because they have their own agendas. What we try to do is create a balance for all Howard residents to enjoy the parkland that is so quickly dwindling in our county.

The Blandair committee members, as a group, agreed to support the present master plan. Robert Moon was part of that unified agreement. There is a small children's garden of three acres offered by Moon in the plan. Moon's misguided attempt recently to create another master plan after he had agreed to an existing plan is confusing and breaks a trust that all members of the committee vowed to uphold.

The Board of Recreation and Parks supports the Blandair Regional Park master plan and will strive to see that money is budgeted for its design and construction.

Dave Grabowski

Chairman, Howard County Recreation and Parks Board

Ellicott City