Baltimore County News
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz unveiled the final rendering for the new urban park to be located between the Historic Courthouse and County Courts building in Towson. Flanked by memorials to fallen police and fire fighters, the new plaza will create usable green space for the people who live, work and visit downtown Towson.
“The acclaimed Towson courthouse gardens have long been a source of pride for our county," said County Executive Kamenetz. "This new green setting at the opposite side of the Historic Courthouse will be a wonderful addition to the grounds and provide a welcoming venue for people to gather during the week and for special events. We worked with community and civic groups to achieve a special design.”
The new greenspace will replace an impervious concrete and paver courtyard centered by a fountain that has not functioned for several years. Leaks in the fountain’s infrastructure require immediate reconstruction of a significant portion of the plaza. Repairs must take place on a tight time frame to avoid additional costly damage to office spaces and technology systems located below the plaza.
The County consulted with the Towson Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations (GTCCA) and representatives of the fire and police unions and memorial associations to gather input on the design. The design was developed by Rubeling & Associates, a Towson architectural firm.
“The County Council is always delighted when green space is added to a neighborhood,” said Council Chair Tom Quirk. “I commend the administration for involving key members of the community in the design of this new open space.”
“I can’t wait until we cut the ribbon for this new park area,” said Nancy Hafford, Executive Director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce. “My head is already spinning at the possibilities that this new space creates.”
“I was pleased to be asked to provide input as to what should be reflected in the final design,” stated Paul Hartman, a member of the GTCCA. “I think the company did a great job trying to capture everyone’s ideas. I am especially happy about the plan to increase greenspace and reduce hardscape."
"The improvements to Patriot Plaza will make the Baltimore County Police Memorial more visible and accessible, while ensuring that the monument continues to provide a solemn tribute to officers who made the ultimate sacrifice," said Retired Colonel Dennis Robinson, Chair of the Baltimore County Police Memorial Fund. “I want to thank the County Executive and his team for their thoughtful consideration of our recommendations.”
Retired Fire Chief Elwood Bannister added, “Anything that we can do to educate more people about our tribute to our fallen fire fighters is greatly appreciated. I find this new design very respectful of our monument.”
Funds for the project, estimated to cost between $3 and $4 million, were approved by the County Council in the FY2017 operating budget. The new green plaza is expected to be completed in June 2018.
Baltimore County has spent more than $57 million on open space and recreational projects since 2010. “Giving families open space and gathering places is central to the quality of life in our communities,” concluded Kamenetz.
By David Fidler, Baltimore County Department of Public Works
Seventeen men and women from central China recently visited Towson to learn more about the U.S. experience in land surveying, GIS, land resources management and planning. The delegation from the Henan Province Department of Land and Resources met with experts from the Baltimore County departments of public works and planning for a full day of professional exchange.
“The most discussed topic was the amount of GIS data and survey control information available from Baltimore County to anyone who has access to the internet. The members of the delegation said that similar Chinese information is controlled by the government and not given out freely,” said Pat Simon, Public Works’ Chief Surveyor.
Speaking through their translator, the Chinese officials asked about GIS in County operations, general planning operations and web applications during a lively exchange with Pat Simon, Public Works Chief Surveyor, Doug Adams, Public Works Program Manager, Wally Lippincott, Department of Planning Coordinator, Jennifer Meacham, GIS Planner, and Kui Zhao, Planning Demographer. Ms. Zhao gave her presentation in Mandarin.
From all accounts. Mr. Chen Zhisheng, head of the Henan delegation, found the exchange enlightening and memorable – especially the visit to Towson Best Chinese & Sushi Restaurant on York Road.
New park will enhance open space in Towson
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County will proceed with the purchase of the 2.36 acre Radebaugh Florist property in Towson, to be converted to a community park. Pursuant to a tentative agreement reached with the property owner last September, the County has now determined that a Phase I environmental study found no issues that prevent the County from completing the purchase.
The 2.36 acre property is located just off of Aigburth Avenue across from 120 E. Burke Avenue. The County is purchasing the property with local Program Open Space funds for $1.1 million, a price determined by two independent appraisals. In addition to the purchase price, the County Executive was able to work with state legislators to secure $175,000 to assist with demolition of certain greenhouses contained on the land.
“We have been working hard to add additional open space for Towson residents, and this purchase will help us achieve that goal,” said County Executive Kamenetz. “I especially appreciate the assistance of Delegate Lafferty, as well as Speaker Pro Tem Delegate Adrienne Jones, in helping us obtain a State contribution to resolve the demolition cost issue.”
“This is great news for the community,” said Delegate Steve Lafferty. “I am pleased to partner with County Executive Kamenetz to provide community space in downtown Towson.”
The contract of sale will be forwarded to the County Council for approval at a future legislative session before the County can take title.