ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Councilmember Liz Walsh, and Department of Recreation & Parks Director A. Raul Delerme announced the completion of renovations at Centennial Park South today that widened pathways, added a new accessible parking lot and pathway improvements, and completed other improvements that enhance public safety. Photos of the event can be found here.
These improvements will continue to make Howard County’s largest regional park more functional and accessible to our residents of all ages and abilities. It’s so important that we continue to build reliable infrastructure and public facilities that will last for generations. This especially includes our public outdoor spaces, our beautiful pathways, waterways and other amenities which now can be enjoyed by even more people.
Construction began in October 2021. Pathways were widened to improve accessibility and to allow for emergency vehicles to access the pathways. A new accessible parking facility with accessible parking spots was added at the bottom of the hill, which is where the deck and pathways begin. Decking and railings were replaced to enhance the South Entrance boat rental facility.
Pathways now connect the new parking facility with the existing boat ramp, boat rental facility, restrooms, and the amphitheater.
“I hope that, just like I bring my kids now to paddleboat, that in the future, I’ll be with my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren in beautiful places like this, Camp Ilchester, and pocket parks in Ellicott City,” said District 1 Councilmember Liz Walsh. “It is Raul Delerme, Calvin Ball, and the Department of Recreation & Parks who find these places, preserve these places, and make them even better.”
“While the improvements are aesthetically pleasing, we were focused on accessibility and public safety,” Delerme said. “This investment ensures that Centennial Park can be enjoyed by all visitors for many years to come.”
“I am pleased to celebrate today the increased access to the concession, boating, and parking areas of Centennial Park,” said Recreation & Parks Advisory Board member Marian Vessels. “Recreation and Parks continues to make strides in improving ADA compliance and access to its facilities and programs for all users."
Other improvements included replacing deteriorating retaining walls with beautiful and functional segmental block retaining walls, adding a storm water management micro-bioretention facility to improve water quality/flow within the redeveloped area and replacement of the decking and railings at the south lower boat rental area.
Additionally, a bicycle pump and tool rack for cyclists will be added near the deck area this fall. Landscaping at the newly improved areas will also be completed this fall.
Contractors on the project included HTI Contractors, Hayes Contracting, and Best Fence.
Other improvements to Centennial Park are underway, including the planning of a sensory trail to wrap around the new, sensory-friendly play experience located in Centennial Park North that opened in November 2021. The Centennial Park – West Area Fields are also undergoing renovations The improvements there include: replacement of the three existing ball fields with three artificial turf baseball diamonds, redesigning the two existing multi-purpose fields into one artificial turf multi-purpose field, athletic lighting replacements, expanded parking, existing parking lot improvements and associated pathways and stormwater quality facilities.
Now 337 acres, Centennial Park was established in 1987 with a vision to create an environment where anyone and everyone could visit to play, hike, boat and come together as a community. The South area boasts a 54-acre man-made lake, a 2.6 mile paved walkway, a boat ramp and dock area, playground, pavilions, and much more. To learn more about the park, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/recreation-parks/parks.
County Executive Ball included $19 million in this year’s budget for recreation and parks projects, the single largest investment in eight years. The funding supports several projects around the County, including additional pickleball courts, basketball courts, the largest skatepark in Howard County, a renovated equestrian ring, new bridges for hiking trails, and more. County Executive Ball has also secured additional green space with the acquisition of Camp Ilchester from the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland this year, preserving 21 acres of open space to be utilized for recreation.