Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announces a $25.7 million investment in county parks at Blandair Regional Park April 28. Photo courtesy of Howard County Government.

New pickleball courts, basketball courts, bridges for hiking trails, and more will be constructed in Howard County with a $25.7 million investment in state and county funding for park improvements and projects. 

“Outdoor space and fresh air are vital to our mental health and well-being, and they need attention, preservation, and investment,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said at a news conference at Blandair Regional Park in Columbia on Thursday. 

The county will provide $14 million and the state will provide $11.7 million, Ball said. 

At Blandair, the county will build the largest skatepark in Howard County and add two new basketball courts and six pickleball courts, Ball said. 

County funding will also go towards projects at Schooley Mill Park in Highland, Savage Mill, Western Regional Park in Woodbine, Atholton Park and Huntington Park in Columbia, Cypressmede Park and Shipley Park in Ellicott City, and Troy Park in Elkridge. 

The investment will also fund renovations of historic structures, including: the Chapel at the Patapsco Female Institute, Barnard Fort House, Belmont Manor, the Ellicott City Colored School, and Blandair North Granary. 

The funding also includes $6 million to purchase Camp Ilchester in Ellicott City and preserve the 21-acre property as space for recreation.

The $11.7 million in state funding will support the replacement of playgrounds at Centennial, Waterloo, and Rockburn Parks, improvements at Blandair and West Friendship Parks, renovation of the Barnard Fort House, construction of bridges to connect the Savage Mill and Wincopin Trails, and the North Laurel Community Center Pool.