Kent County Land Preservation Parks and Restoration Plan
July 25, 2022
The Kent County Parks and Recreation Department announced last week that Kent County has completed the 2022 Land Preservation, Parks and Restoration Plan. The plan includes the county’s goals for parks and recreation activities and resources, while also addressing the needs of the county’s communities, equitable access to parks, and goals for protecting farm land, natural resource conservation, and land preservation. The plan is a vital document for two reasons.
First, the state requires each county and the city of Baltimore to submit a Land Preservation Parks and Restoration Plan (LPPRP) every five years to the Department of Natural Resources in order to receive local funding from Program Open Space (POS). POS funds are acquired through a .5% State property transfer tax whenever someone buys a home or land in the state of Maryland, and are used to acquire land to create parks, greenways, and wildlife management areas, among other open space projects. Since its inception, POS funding has assisted more than 6,700 parks and conservation areas, and according to the state:
“The support of homeowners and landowners in this effort has resulted in the acquisition of more than 412,000 acres of open space directly through POS for state parks and natural resource areas and more than 49,000 acres of local park land.”
Second, the plan is amended to the county comprehensive plan and, like the comp plan, is used as a guide for development of future parks and preservation of open spaces in the county and its municipalities. The plan includes community input and perspective. As the Kent County plan sites:
“The LPPRP planning process allows local, county, and municipal jurisdictions to plan for improving natural resource and agricultural preservation as well as planning for parks and recreation in each county.”
The LPPRP has great information about the county, including its natural landscape, demographics, municipalities, park equity analysis throughout the county and the towns, guidance from the Comprehensive Plan, and user demand. Among the top demands and most utilized features were safe biking and walking trails. This has been a consistent demand we have heard from other counties on the Eastern Shore, and is one of the reasons why ESLC is building a vision for a regional trail network with our counties and towns.
In short, this plan will help ensure that Kent County will continue to receive Program Open Space funds and that those funds are spent on projects that not only meet the demands of the county’s residents, but will better their lives, as well. However, an effective plan must be read by those who will be impacted by it. Therefore, we encourage you to read your county’s LPPRP.
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy