Use your voice to keep the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center and Park on track
PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Please join dozens of community organizations and over 200 individual supporters in urging Calvert County Commissioners (BOCC) to deliver on their promise of a vibrant Harriet Elizabeth Brown (HEB CC&P) Community Center and Park in Prince Frederick .
The BOCC was on track – allocating $6 million from Paygo funds and an additional $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 the funding needed to having none!
Harriet Elizabeth Brown is a Calvert County treasure – a teacher who championed 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 that bears her name deserve funding from the county she so honorably represented.
If Mrs Brown were alive today, she would be sorely compelled to give our BOCC members an ‘F’ – a failing grade. But they can turn that “F” into an “A” by restoring funding for the community center and Harriet Elizabeth Brown Park in the fiscal year 2023 budget.
Town centers have been central to county planning for decades. Downtown Prince Frederick has grown and there must be a corresponding growth in services and recreational opportunities. Although our county commissioners must balance priorities, they must know that the CC&P HEB is a top priority.
Yes, it will cost more than expected. But that means now is the best time to start – don’t hang around while prices rise even more and the blueprint becomes stale.
A perfect Phase I for the HEB CC&P would be to do the “outside” work now – parks, playgrounds, trails, fields, pavilions, courts, parking lot, landscaping, farmers market, storm water management and other infrastructure. Phase I could also initiate the architectural and engineering work for the community center building.
This would make the 27 acres off Dares Beach Road that the County already has usable right away, not a $2 million piece of land doing no one any good. Additionally, completion of Phase I would put the county in an excellent position to secure bond financing to complete the work (Phase II) next year.
Calvert County commissioners made a U-turn on April 12 when they removed the fundraising carpet from Ms Brown’s community center and park. It’s not worthy of Mrs. Brown’s legacy. And that’s not acceptable to the citizens of Calvert County, who appreciate — and need — great outdoor activities and recreation. Please join your fellow citizens in urging the BOCC to make another U-turn so that they are – once again – pointed in the right direction.
At the May 17 hearing, Commissioner Kelly McConkey supported restoring funding to HEB CC&P. He said the use of Rainy Day Funds would be “a sign of good faith, that we will try to move forward, even if the costs are a bit too high now”.
To keep HEB CC&P’s progress on track, at least two more County Commissioners must join Commissioner McConkey. You have the power to make this happen. But you must act quickly.
· Email your comments to [email protected] by the close of business on Monday, June 6. Tell them, “Don’t leave Prince Frederick behind. Return HEB CC&P funding to the FY2023 budget. Go ahead with Phase I – exterior works and building plans right away.
Show up at the courthouse—or tune in—Tuesday, June 7, 10:00 a.m., for the BOCC’s vote on the fiscal year 2023 budget. Speak during public comments. If the BOCC reinstates HEB CC&P funding for Phase I, be sure to thank them. And it’s okay to politely share your disappointment if they don’t.
To listen and provide feedback: (1) Dial 888-475-4499 or 877-853-5257; (2) Login Meeting ID: 899 4188 8251; (3) Access code (if requested): #; (4) During public comments, press *9 speak: 5 minutes for organizations & 2 for individuals.
This new community center and park will serve all citizens of the county, young and old. As former County Commissioner Pat Nutter so eloquently said, “We all need to work together to make sure the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center and Park are ready to go before we do! »
Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Task Force