Friends Park pond to close for renovations, fish need a new home

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Photo of Friends Park pond courtesy of kingkrawczyk via Panoramio

The Friends Park pond in Forest Hill will be closing sometime after April 15 for a renovation that is expected to last about six months, according to Paul Magness, chief of capital planning and development for the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation. The playground, playing fields, back parking lot and Ma & Pa Trail will remain open during the renovation. However, the pavilion near the pond will be closed and the area around it will be used as a staging area for the contractors. Magness said plans for the renovation have been in the works for about two years after officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment determined the more than 30-year-old pond wasn’t meeting current environmental standards. He said MDE was concerned muskrats living near the pond could undermine its supporting dam, the water quality needed improvement and the pond wasn’t as deep as it should be to provide a healthy environment for the small mouth bass that populate it. Magness said MDE wanted to eliminate the pond and create a wetland at the spot that feeds into a stream of Bynum Run. But Magness said, “The pond is part of what people identify with when they go to Friends Park.” His department worked with the state to design improvements which are to include a boardwalk along the side of the pond closest to the playground and Jarrettsville Road and an improved fishing pier. The sides of the pond will also be reinforced, the pond will be deepened near the fishing pier and drainage will be improved. The state is contributing $132,000 to the $332,443 cost of the project. Magness said he is looking for someone or some organization to remove the fish currently living in the pond. If no one is able to relocate the fish, he said the contractor is required to bury them when the pond is drained. Anyone interested in relocating the fish can contact Magness at 410-638-4753 or pmagness@harfordcountymd.gov. Fishing will still be allowed at the pond until it closes in a few weeks.

Click here to read the county’s press release on the pond project: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Press.cfm?PressID=3215