February 23, 2018
School & Youth
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  • During a ceremony on September 20, Exelon donated $1.28 million toward the installation of two turf fields at Tick Neck Park.
    Photo by Zach Sparks
    During a ceremony on September 20, Exelon donated $1.28 million toward the installation of two turf fields at Tick Neck Park.

Exelon Grant Will Bring Two Turf Fields To Tick Neck Park

Zach Sparks
View Bio
September 21, 2017

Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch remembers watching his daughter play soccer at Tick Neck Park, and turning to another father, an employee of Exelon, as the men expressed their disappointment.

“The ball used to roll off the field and there were big clumps of grass, and we said, ‘My God, it’d be different if we had turf here,’” Busch said.

A recent opportunity allowed Busch to do something about the conditions. Exelon — a parent company of Baltimore Gas and Electric that delivers electricity and natural gas to 10 million customers nationwide — offered to contribute $1.28 million for recreation space. Originally, the plan was to build a baseball diamond at Tick Neck Park, which sits next to Northeast High School off Edwin Raynor Boulevard. Instead, Busch met with Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Director Rick Anthony to suggest an alternative that would benefit more athletes.

“If you have a baseball diamond, you can only play baseball on it,” said Busch, who in addition to being Speaker of the House of Delegates is also an administrator for the Department of Recreation and Parks. “It’s not that baseball isn’t a great sport, but we need linear fields where you can play soccer, field hockey, lacrosse — for both the community and for the schools — so it took us about five minutes to come to an agreement on ‘We ought to put this money into turf fields at Tick Neck.’”

Busch and Anthony approached County Executive Steve Schuh, who agreed on the plan. Schuh allotted $500,000 for the project in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, and Delegate Nic Kipke sponsored a $250,000 bond bill in the House to add to Exelon’s contribution.

Policy makers and school officials congregated during a check presentation on September 20 to announce the “perfect public-private partnership” as Busch called it.

“You can tell it’s vitally important to us that we actually become members of the community and step up both with our employee involvement in the community as well as our corporate involvement in the community,” said Dan Haught, vice president of Exelon Industrial Services.

“It’s also a great example of partnership — the state, the county and the private sector all working together to make something really positive happen,” said County Executive Steve Schuh. “With every inch of turf we put down, every brick we lay, every mile of bike trail we connect, we are doing what we can to make Anne Arundel County the best place to live, work and start a business in the state of Maryland.”

Athletic Director Ken Miller knows the fields will go to good use. Because Northeast teams are practicing on grass fields but competing on turf, they are at a disadvantage over other county athletes.

“We are actually the only school in the county that doesn’t have their own practice fields,” Miller said. “We have a stadium field, we have a baseball field, we have a softball field — those are the only fields that are school property. These Tick Neck fields, the Bermuda field up top, are all owned by Rec and Parks. And we have to kind of beg and borrow a little bit of time when we can after school to use these fields, and we are also bound by those rec groups coming in at a certain time on these fields, so we have to really squeeze as many teams on these fields as possible in a short period of time, so we open them up to the rec groups too.”

Busch said that Greg Stewart, senior manager of planning for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, will manage the project, which is expected to get underway by the end of the fall season and finish by spring.

Miller hopes that is the case. He flashed a wide smile as he thanked everyone for their support of Pasadena youth.

“This is a true community area and we thrive on that community spirit and looking out for each other,” Miller said, “and its things like that that are going to help us survive and help us succeed in the future.”

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