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Urbana District Park open for business
Originally published June 20, 2012 in The Frederick News Post
Jake Wills took a break from a game of whiffle ball with friends Tuesday afternoon to give his opinion of the new Urbana District Park.
The 11-year-old from Urbana was among hundreds of children to take part in the opening-day festivities for the park that was nearly a decade in the making.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun because this place has a really cool playground,” Jake said. “Now, everybody gets more playing time, more places to play.”
Jake said he plays first base and pitches for his baseball team. Having more fields will mean children in the community will get more chances to play.
The new 95-acre park near Md. 355 and Lew Wallace Street cost $5.6 million to construct.
The county park includes two multipurpose fields, a football/lacrosse field, one baseball, one softball and one Little League field. There are also four picnic pavilions, two playgrounds, and more than a mile of walking and biking trails.
Five-year-old Morgan Deboy was grabbing some water from his mother when he said he liked playing at the new park.
“Because it’s a fun playground,” Morgan said.
Eleven-year-old Olivia Bongiorno brought her in-line skates, but didn’t get a chance to skate because of the other activities. She said she plans to come back throughout the summer.
“It’s fun to have all these people around, and you can just play freely,” Olivia said. “You have a lot of fields and big playgrounds. … I wanted a park where we could go to the fields and just have a big area to play.”
Jessica Littleford won’t get a lot of time at the new park because she is visiting from Indiana, but she was making the best of Tuesday’s fun.
“There are lots of swings and slides, and I can run around,” the 6-year-old said. “It’s so much fun.”
The land was donated years ago by Monocacy Land Co., which is run by the Natelli family — the main developers of Urbana.
Company President Tom Natelli said it’s important for developers to realize the amount of change they are bringing to a community, which is why the decision was made to work with the county on the park project.
He said it all started with lasagna dinners with Urbana residents. Natelli recalled how he joked with his father that the dinner cost them 100 acres.
“It’s a long, long journey to get here,” Natelli said. “It’s a tremendous amenity for the region. … What we’re doing here is going to last for generations.”
Four different boards of county commissioners have been involved through the years.
A plan for development began in 2002, but delays slowed the process. Weather even played a factor during the construction, officials said.
The completed work marks the first phase of construction. Plans call for adding fields, but no timeline for the work has been set.
“It’s been a long time coming on this,” said Bob Hicks, deputy director of parks and recreation for Frederick County. “It’s a great achievement for the people of Urbana and the citizens of Frederick County. We are looking forward to it being well used.”
The key feature to the park, officials said, is that it is close enough to The Villages of Urbana for young people to safely walk without crossing any major roads.
“We can take a quick walk, and we’re here,” said Sara West, who has two children — ages 11 and 8 — and is expecting her third. “It’s a nice place that is close to home to come out and play.”