County officials formally plunged golden shovels into the dirt at the site of a new, 6.6-mile trail in Broadneck on Thursday.
The crowd gathered for 's groundbreaking ceremony was a shortlist for local parks and trails enthusiasts. Members of the Arnold Preservation Council, Broadneck Council of Communities and the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails all wore smiles, despite the heat.
The trail will span the peninsula from west to east, linking to the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail in Arnold. Phase 1 of the project includes the construction of a trail along College Parkway from Green Holly Drive to Cape St. Claire Road and the Walnut Ridge community (see attached .PDF).
Phases of the Broadneck Peninsula Trail
- Phase 1A—Green Holly Drive to College Parkway East (.87 miles)
- Phase 1B—College Parkway East to Bay Head Road (.80 miles)
- Phase 2—Bay Dale Drive to Green Holly Drive (1.24 miles)
- Phase 3—Peninsula Farm Road to Bay Dale Drive (2.47 miles)
- Phase 4—B&A Trail to Peninsula Farm Road (.48 miles)
- Phase 5—Bay Head Park to Sandy Point Park (2.48 miles)
This trail has been in the planning stages since 2000, but only recently was funding slated for approval, after .
At the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon, Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Director Rick Anthony showed off a map depicting the work before them.
"We’re thrilled,” Anthony said. “This is a small part of a larger section of the Broadneck Trail, which gives us nine miles of trails.”
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold thanked the partnerships of state, county and local governments that allow work to begin on the trail.
Leopold also underscored the role trails like these play in our everyday health.
“Nothing good happens without partnership,” Leopold said. “But the most important thing I think is the cardiovascular, getting out there and walking. There’s nothing more important to your health than walking every single day.”
The president of the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails group, Elizabeth Wyble, said they are helping to provide a respite center along the trail, as part of their “Lasting Gift donation.” The center will provide benches, a picnic table, and a water fountain to trail walkers and bikers.
The center is made possible through a $25,000 to the Friends by member Ed Parker, Wyble said.
"Thanks Ed, for your continued dedication to this trail," Wyble said. "I'll end this with what Mr. Leopold usually says when he sees me at an event, 'Happy trails.'"
Work contractually began on the project on July 19, and Peak Inc. has 180 days to complete Phase 1 of the trail, county Parks Administrator Mark Garrity said. That puts the trail's opening somewhere in early 2013.