Popular Howard County park to get $7.3M facelift

The baseball fields at Centennial Park in Ellicott City will be replaced with synthetic turf. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

The baseball fields at Centennial Park in Ellicott City will be replaced with synthetic turf. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

The athletic fields at Centennial Park will be replaced with one or two artificial field stadiums. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

The baseball fields at Centennial Park in Ellicott City will be replaced with synthetic turf. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

The parking lot at the west side of Centennial Park will be renovated. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Centennial Park in Ellicott City will get $7.3 million in renovations to its parking lots, baseball and athletic fields. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

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A popular park in Howard County, Maryland, recently received funding to undergo some major renovations.

The county is using $7.3 million of state money to renovate the west side of Centennial Park in Ellicott City.

Renovations include replacements for rusted lighting, the conversion of three baseball diamonds to synthetic turf diamonds, parking realignment and renovation, new pathways and either one or two synthetic turf stadium fields.

“Regardless of the time of day, you will always find Centennial Park, our largest park in use,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.

“These improvements will benefit our everyday park visitors and our many sports programs, teams, players and coaches and expand our portfolio of quality fields that attract tournaments and other programming to Howard County,” Ball said.

The Howard County Council unanimously approved the Transfer of Appropriations allowing the county to design and start building the proposed improvements by summer of next year.

“These critical improvements benefit our residents and visitors of all ages and abilities and we can’t wait to get started,” Ball said.

Adult softball league player and team manager Brian Stauffer said one of the major issues is rain delays because of the condition of the fields.

“One thing that’s always been an issue, and sort of frustrating for us, is the number of rainouts and postponed games that we encounter throughout the season. So we’re looking forward to the new synthetic fields helping with that issue,” Stauffer said.

Officials have said they’ve seen an increase in the number of people using the park since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our parks are in high demand – they are used Monday through 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,” said Director of Recreation & Parks A. Raul Delerme.

District 9B Del. Courtney Watson said she was grateful that the Maryland General Assembly used so much money toward funding renovations for local parks.

The county received a total of $8 million for local parks; the remaining $700,000 will be split among two other areas.

The grant will also support new playground equipment and safety surfacing at $400,000 for Schooley Mill Park, in Highland, and $300,000 for Warfields Pond Park, in Glenwood.

“This is a tremendous and unexpected boost for our parks which are being used more than ever now,” Watson said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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