BEL AIR, MD — A new water-themed play area broke ground Tuesday morning in Bel Air. Called Chesapeake Sensory Plaza at Rockfield Park, the water-centered attraction is designed to be educational and interactive. It was funded by grants.

The 5,000-square-foot space will educate visitors about the role of the Chesapeake Bay watershed through the power of water, according to a statement from American Water. A 60-foot-long channel will be the centerpiece.

People will be able to control the flow of water along the channel using hand pumps and water switches. Then they can watch as it travels through various mill wheels, lock gates, forks and other areas where water may collect.

"As the first of its kind in the state of Maryland, we are excited to bring this unique educational play space to Bel Air," Small said in a statement. "As a Sustainable Maryland Certified community, we value the opportunity to teach local families the importance of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed area."

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The American Water Charitable Foundation provided a $150,000 grant for the town to build the new educational addition.

"Maryland American Water has operated Bel Air's water system for nearly 90 years and our Foundation is pleased to partner with the Town of Bel Air to provide residents and visitors the opportunity to learn, enjoy and appreciate water in a fun and engaging way," American Water Charitable Foundation President Carrie Williams said in a statement.

In addition to the grant, which is administered through the National Recreation and Park Association, funding for the project is provided by the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation and the Bel Air Recreation Committee.

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