Howard County has purchased the 16.5-acre East Columbia Library Park property, which lies adjacent to the Howard County Library System’s East Columbia branch on Cradlerock Way. It was purchased from the Howard Hughes Corp. for $415,000 with the use of Program Open Space funding provided by the state.

In addition to more state funding, local funding from the County will be used during the park’s renovation. The Howard County Office of Recreation and Parks has maintained the property since 1992.

The purchase of this property from the Howard Hughes Holdings allows the County to move forward with plans to enhance and expand the existing park. Those plans include redeveloping the three existing multipurpose fields into two lighted artificial turf baseball fields, two lighted basketball courts, a playground and a pavilion.

Additionally, the pathway will be renovated to fully connect to the Owen Brown Village Center. Finally, the project also includes landscaping work and the completion of storm water management bio-retention facilities. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2024 and be completed the following year.

“This purchase opens the way for the County to proceed this fall with construction of a 1-megawatt solar canopy over the library’s parking lot” said Tim Lattimer, administrator, Office of Community Sustainability. “This helps advance the County’s ‘Climate Forward’ action plan, as the canopy will generate about 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That’s enough to power more than 110 homes and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equal to taking 130 cars off the road or planting 9,650 trees.”