Baltimore County Now
Lake Roland is Located at 1000 Lakeside Drive; Total Cost for New Center is $1.2 Million
Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz along with officials from the Department of Recreation and Parks and members of the Lake Roland Nature Council broke ground for the new Nature and Environmental Education Center at Lake Roland.
Year Round Education Programming, Meeting Space
This much anticipated addition to Lake Roland will provide year round education programming and meeting space. Plans for the center include classroom, educational and meeting space with audio-visual capabilities, and an expansive deck that provides a year round view of the Lake Roland dam.
“The construction of this nature and environmental education center will only further enhance Lake Roland with year-round education and programming,” said Kamenetz. “It’s so important to encourage people, especially children, to connect with nature. I am proud that Baltimore County continues to make major investments in our communities – investments that truly protect and enhance our citizens’ quality of life.”
Renovations and Improvements
Since Baltimore County entered into a formal agreement with the City to administer the park and re-opened it in 2011, the County has made considerable renovations and improvements. Several of the enhancements include: a fenced area for the Paw Point Dog Park; a park access trail from the Light Rail Station; a new pavilion overlooking the dam; a small pedestrian bridge deck replacement; the Acorn Hill Playground – a natural playground with equipment; and staffing by Baltimore County Park rangers who educate park users and ensure safety.
Total cost for this project is $1.2 million, which includes $285,000 County funding, $200,000 in State capital grants, $375,000 from Program Open Space, and $340,000 in Nature Council fundraising.
County Expects to Make Joint Announcement With City in Near Future
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that he is asking Baltimore City officials to allow Baltimore County to rename Robert E. Lee Park as Lake Roland Park.
Baltimore County assumed operation of the park in a licensing agreement on December 16, 2009, in which the City still retains title to the land located in Baltimore County, but the County would assume all operational control. Last month, Kamenetz directed County officials to investigate the process for a name change, and learned that the licensing agreement required City approval of any name change. Today, County Administrative Officer Fred Homan sought official approval for the name change from the City’s Director of Recreation and Parks and the City Solicitor, and the City seemed receptive to the request.
Name Change to Better Reflect Unique Amenity
“Since 2009, the County has invested more than $6 million for significant upgrades to the park, which is centered around historic Lake Roland, including pavilions, playgrounds, trails, bridges and even a dog park," said County Executive Kamenetz. "We've been talking for months about a name change that better reflects this unique amenity. We believe Lake Roland Park is more reflective of this open space treasure, and we are confident that the City will approve our request, and I expect to make a joint announcement with the City about the name change in the very near future.”
Deputy Director, Baltimore County Office of Communications
To me, the newly renovated Robert E. Lee Park feels like Baltimore County’s little slice of Central Park. It’s got a certain air of sophistication and gentility about it. Walking along Lake Roland on the paved walking paths you get such a sense of park’s history. You can almost imagine the Baltimore ladies from the 1940s in their Sunday finery pushing their baby carriages, the men trailing behind in their in their tweed three-piece suits smoking their cigars and glancing at their pocket watches.
The County recently acquired this signature park from Baltimore City and has made $6 million in significant repairs and improvements including two pedestrian bridges, a beautiful boardwalk that connects to the Falls Road Light Rail Station, upgrades to the dog park (Paw Point), significant shoreline stabilization and some general sprucing up all around the park. The makeover has done wonders for this grand urban oasis.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to immerse myself in the park’s more natural areas, hiking through the 415 acres of woodlands, exploring the serpentine barrens and rock plateaus, walking the boardwalk and, of course, launching my kayak. But there is something that feels so very civilized and relaxing about taking a quiet stroll alongside the historic dam and stone waterworks building. Maybe next time I’ll have to bring along a parasol.