Mark Twain athletic facility receives sizeable state funding
Jan. 20, 1999

by Candace James, Staff Writer

January 27, 1999

The construction of a new athletic park at Mark Twain School in Rockville, which will provide the first regulation-size soccer field in the city, is getting a sizeable amount of funding from the state.

On Jan. 13, Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced that the Board of Public Works had approved $591,750 from the Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space to help design and construct the facility at the school, which is located at 14501 Avery Road.

Phil Bryan, superintendent of recreation for the City of Rockville, said the state often gets involved in the acquisition of recreational lands or the building of recreational facilities.

Through a collaborative effort begun last year between the City of Rockville and Mark Twain School, the lighted sports complex will include two fields which will be used for softball or baseball in the spring, one measuring 225 feet in length and one 285 feet in length. In the fall, the fields can be combined to accommodate soccer teams.

Bryan said the project will also include a tennis court, a pavilion with restrooms and a concession area, a playground and paths around the complex.

Bryan said the total cost of the project is about $790,000 and Project Open Space will be paying about 75 percent of the cost. He said that funds for the remaining 25 percent will be included in the city's Capital Improvements Program.

The city's sports programs supervisor, Chuck Miller, said last fall that the city decided to work with Mark Twain because the city needed an official-sized soccer field and found that Mark Twain had the available space.

He said the city was also pleased to discover that the site -- flanked by Rock Creek Regional Park, the city-owned Redgate Golf Course and Norbeck Road -- would have low-impact effects on people who live in that area.

The site will also be a tremendous asset to the community and the school, Miller said, because it will allow for the expansion of adult and children's sports program so that local teams can play more often during the week and at night.

The benefit of such a prime location was also not lost on the governor, who called it "an ideal location for a lighted recreational complex to serve the nearby families of Rockville."

"Not only will the facility be the home of Rockville's youth soccer program, but will serve the needs of adult recreational soccer and softball teams as well," Glendening said in a press release.

Groundbreaking for the complex was originally scheduled for last fall, but the city encountered some delays, which are common for this type of project, Bryan said. He said that construction should start in the spring, and is likely to take approximately two months to complete.

According to the governor's office, Program Open Space has helped counties and cities in Maryland acquire more than 140,000 acres for open space and recreation areas.