Baltimore County News
Bob Nozeika Playground at Dunnie Field Honors 40-year Community Volunteer
On Saturday, May 7, the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks hosted a celebration to dedicate the new Bob Nozeika Playground at Dunnie Field, located at Eastwood Park in Dundalk. An enthusiastic group of community and recreation leaders joined in the celebration as well as members of the Nozeika family.
Department of Recreation and Parks Director Barry F. Williams led the brief ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of this $82,000 playground named in honor of the late Bob Nozeika.
Honoring Lifelong Community Volunteer, Bob Nozeika
At the community’s suggestion, the playground was named after Bob Nozeika, a resident of the Eastwood community in Dundalk who was a much beloved volunteer who served in a multitude of roles for the Eastwood Recreation Council, the Berkshire/Eastwood Recreation Council, the Eastwood Elementary School PTA and the Eastwood Resident's & Business Community Association.
“Kids learn and grow through play, and we are delighted to provide this playground to the Eastwood community for families to enjoy,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This playground is a special place named for a very special person. For four decades, Mr. Bob Nozeika was an energetic, positive life force in this community and he made a lasting difference in the lives of generations of Eastwood residents.”
The playground consists of a KidBuilders play structure with two slides, multiple types of climbers, talk tubes, and a transfer station for accessibility, a swing set and park benches.
Perry Hall Community Celebrates New Recreational Resource
The Perry Hall community has yet another new recreational resource with the completion of an extension to Northeast Trail at Indian Rock Park.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz celebrated the completion of this $423,000 project with community and recreation leaders from the Perry Hall area at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning.
The extended trail connects the northern and southern ends of the existing Northeast Trail at Indian Rock Park, creating a paved path that is about three-fifths of a mile in length. This ADA-compliant path starts at Ebenezer Road, goes through a patch of woods, then runs alongside the ball fields at Perry Hall High School, ending in the Silver Hall neighborhood.
Strong, Healthy Families
“As I often say, strong, healthy families are the foundation of the communities that make this County such a great place to live,” said Kamenetz. “And so we are committed to providing them with the resources, like this new trail extension, they need to grow, excel and enjoy the high quality of life they deserve.”
Trail construction was supported by two trail-funding programs. Baltimore County was awarded $90,000 in National Recreational Trails (NRT) Program funding through the Maryland State Highway Administration, as well as $126,000 from the Maryland Bikeways Program. Additionally, a Maryland Program Open Space (POS) application for $100,000 in funding was approved in December by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The architect is A. Morton Thomas and Associates and the contractor is Whiting Turner.
Improved Hiking and Biking
"This trail opens up an underutilized County park and improves hiking and biking in a densely populated part of Perry Hall,” said 5th District Councilman David Marks. “It was a key element of the Perry Hall Community Plan, and I applaud all those who worked to make it a reality."
The Northeast Trail is one of the priority projects listed within the County's Eastern Baltimore County Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Plan. It is intended to tie in with similar improvements proposed by the plan to create a network of trails, sidewalks and bikeways for both recreation and transportation uses, as part of the County's ongoing access to promote health-enhancing activities such as walking and cycling.
This project adds to the County’s portfolio of walking trails at parks. It is included in the recently launched Trailfinder feature on the County website, which helps people easily locate family-friendly walking paths and trails throughout the County.
Recent Recreation Projects
This trail project further enhances recreation opportunities in the Perry Hall area, including:
- The Soukup Arena is a $3 million, 12,000-square-foot building that includes a 9,000-square-foot gymnasium and 3,000 square feet of additional space. The Perry Hall Recreation Council contributed $1.5 million of the total cost and the construction was completed this past winter.
- Gough Park is a $3.5 million, 17-acre park that was completed last October and features athletic fields, walking paths, a comfort station, pavilions and a parking lot. The fields should be ready for play this fall.
- The Perry Paw Dog Park at Honeygo Run Regional Park is a $205,000 dog park completed in April of 2014 and is operated by the Perry Paw Dog Park Committee.
Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Park
When someone asks us about the “value” of volunteers over in Recreation and Parks, we have to respond in a couple of ways - about a gazillion dollars-worth and immeasurable! The truth of the matter is, we couldn’t run our department without our incredible and indispensable volunteers.
Now, don’t get us wrong. Without our incomparable professional/paid staff, there’d be no Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. While professional staff facilitates and provides guidance, it is our volunteers who do most of the programming, staff individual programs, and handle a myriad of details that allow the 46 Recreation and Nature Councils to run so successfully throughout our beautiful county. It really does take a team to make these programs and sites run – professional staff and volunteers.
Now, here’s a number that will knock your socks off… more than 23,000. That’s approximately how many volunteers we currently have running the councils, coaching athletics, assisting therapeutic programs, keeping time at a game, offering dancers and artists that ever important outlet to hone and share their skills, coordinating leagues, chairing programs, raising funds, overseeing gardens, keeping score, leading hikes and more. The list of volunteer jobs just keeps going and growing.
So, who are our volunteers? Your neighbors, your friends, that college kid down the street. Our volunteers are people like Frank “Skip” Hammond, a ten plus year volunteer who is President of the Edgemere-Sparrows Point Recreation Council. Mr. Hammond sums up the volunteer experience with his comment, “being a recreation council volunteer is well worth the time and effort because you are able to see the positive changes in the community youth from their involvement in the programs your Rec Council provides. It is not about your Rec achievements, your Rec titles or awards, it always first and foremost about providing the best and most diverse opportunities for the kids.”
What do our volunteers all have in common? They are there for the program participants and they work to make a difference. They want to help youngsters develop through recreation, have fun, and they demonstrate the importance of giving back to the community.
You can’t pay enough to get folks like our volunteers. It is out of the kindness of their hearts, their willingness to make that difference. They seek out opportunities to build a smile, teach a skill and share the joys of developing community through recreation – that’s what our volunteers are all about!
So, we ask the question again…Who are our volunteers? Could it be you? The following is a link to all the recreation offices throughout the county. You’re almost certain to find something near your home or office in our county. Just visit our Recreation and Parks Volunteer page.
Just something to think about – 23,000, plus YOU. How’s it feel to know you can make a difference?!
Revised April 6, 2016