Montgomery County Council

News Release

February 7, 2000

Councilmembers Dacek, Berlage, Ewing and Andrews
Call for More Funding for "Legacy Open Space" Program

Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Dacek today called for increased funding over and above the amount allocated by the County Executive in his recommended capital budget for the "Legacy Open Space" program. "Legacy Open Space" is a 10-year, $88 million program proposed by the Montgomery County Park and Planning Commission to protect selected County land from further development.

"This is an unique opportunity to preserve both historic and rural properties," said Dacek, who represents the upcounty. "This is an exciting program. It fits in with our Countyís ongoing legacy of balancing economic development with preserving green space."

Councilmembers Derick Berlage, Blair Ewing, and Phil Andrews joined Dacek in calling for more funds. Also joining the Councilmembers were William Hussmann, Chair of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; Neal Fitzpatrick, Audubon Naturalist Society; Edward Thompson, American Farmland Preservation Trust; Charles Pritchard, Montgomery Civic Federation; David Flanagan, Suburban Maryland Building Industry Association; and Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund.

These sites are our Grand Canyons, our Yellowstones," said Councilmember Berlage, chair of the Councilís Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee.

"If resources are lost, we never have a chance to put them back together," said William Hussmann of the Park and Planning Commission. "These are the things that are here today and can be gone tomorrow."

The Park and Planning Commission has identified several sites in the County that should be preserved because of their environmental, agricultural, open space, or cultural significance to the heritage of the County. These sites include sources of ground water, heritage resource sites such as the Underground Railroad/Quaker Cluster, farmland and rural open spaces, and urban green spaces.

The County would either purchase the land or restrict development on the site by purchasing an easement.

The County Executive has included $15 million over six years for "Legacy Open Space" in the capital budget submitted to the Council on January 15, 2000.

Patrick Lacefield, (240) 777-7939
Jean Arthur, (240) 777-7934