PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Please join dozens of community organizations and more than 200 individual supporters to urge Calvert County Commissioners (BOCC) to make good on their promise for a vibrant Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center and Park (HEB CC&P) in Prince Frederick.
The BOCC was on the right track – allocating $6 million Paygo funds and another $1.5 million from federal funds, and approving a Master Plan. But, on April 12, they pulled the rug out from under this important project. In fact, the Center went from having 25% of needed funding to having none!
Harriet Elizabeth Brown is a Calvert County treasure – a teacher who stood up for equal pay for African-American teachers in 1937 – long before most of us were born. She deserves our respect. And the Community Center and Park named after her deserve funding from the County she represented so honorably.
If Ms. Brown were alive today, she would be painfully forced to give our BOCC members an “F” – a failing grade. But they can turn that “F” into an “A” by restoring funding for the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center and Park to the Fiscal 2023 budget.
Town Centers have been the core of County planning for decades. The Prince Frederick Town Center has grown, and there needs to be a corresponding growth in services and recreational opportunities. While our County Commissioners must balance priorities, they need to know that the HEB CC&P is a top priority.
Yes, it will cost more than originally thought. But that means now is the best time to get started – not dawdle while prices go up even more and the Master Plan becomes stale.
A perfect Phase I for the HEB CC&P would be doing the “outdoor” work now – parkland, playgrounds, trails, fields, pavilions, courts, parking, landscaping, farmers’ market, and stormwater management and other infrastructure. Phase I could also jump-start architectural and engineering work for the community center building.
This would make the 27 acres off Dares Beach Road that the County already owns usable right away, not a $2 million lump of land doing nobody any good. Also, completing Phase I would put the County in a great position to get bond funding to finish the job (Phase II) next year.
Calvert County Commissioners did a U-Turn on April 12 when they pulled the funding rug from Ms. Brown’s Community Center and Park. That is not worthy of Ms. Brown’s legacy. And it’s not okay for the citizens of Calvert County, who value – and need – great outdoor and recreational activities. Please join with your fellow citizens to urge the BOCC to do another U-Turn so they are – once again – headed in the right direction.
At the May 17 hearing, Commissioner Kelly McConkey supported restoring HEB CC&P funding. He said using Rainy Day Funds would be “a sign of good faith, that we will try to move forward, even though costs are a little bit too high now.”
To keep HEB CC&P progress on track, at least two other County Commissioners need to join with Commissioner McConkey. You have the power to make this happen. But you need to act quickly.
·Email comments to COMMISS@calvertcountymd.gov before the close of business on Monday, June 6. Tell them: “Don’t leave Prince Frederick behind. Put HEB CC&P funding back into the Fiscal 2023 budget. Move ahead right away with Phase I – the outdoor work and plans for the building.”
·Show up at the Courthouse – or tune in – Tuesday, June 7, 10:00 a.m., for the BOCC vote on the Fiscal 2023 budget. Speak during Public Comments. If the BOCC restores HEB CC&P funding for Phase I, be sure to thank them. And it is okay to politely share your disappointment if they do not.
To listen and make comments: (1) Dial 888-475-4499 or 877-853-5257; (2) Login Meeting # ID: 899 4188 8251; (3) Passcode (if asked): # ; (4) During Public Comments, press *9 to speak: 5 minutes for organizations & 2 for individuals.
This new Community Center and Park will serve all citizens countywide – young and old alike. As former County Commissioner Pat Nutter so eloquently says: “We all need to work together to make sure the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center and Park is shovel-ready before we are!”
– Margaret Dunkle,
Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Task Force