Baltimore County News
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.
- Upgrades to ease congestion near hospitals and Towson University
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County is moving forward with improvements to the intersection of Towsontown Boulevard and Osler Drive just north of Towson University. Following discussions with the university and three nearby medical institutions, the County has initiated a project to improve traffic flow and enhance pedestrian and driving safety with an upgraded signal, additional sidewalks and a 16-foot road widening, which will permit a double left-turn lane on to Osler Drive.
“We appreciate the collaboration of these thriving Towson institutions as we all work together to bring a new vibrancy to downtown Towson,” said Kamenetz. “This roadway improvement helps provide for the significant growth that continues in Towson.”
The first phase of construction was completed today, including widening Towsontown Boulevard and installing sidewalks west of Osler Drive. In early 2017, the Department of Public Works will install a new sanitary sewer line in Towsontown Boulevard in the vicinity of Osler Drive. This construction is expected to take approximately three months to complete.
At the end of the school year, the next phase of the roadway widening project will start in May and run through August, with the installation of retaining walls on the north side of Towsontown Boulevard east and west of Osler Drive, followed by the 16-foot roadway widening.
The roadway improvements are a partnership between Baltimore County and Towson University, along with its neighboring medical institutions – Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Sheppard Pratt Health System and University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The County will contribute $1.7 million, which is 75% of the $2.3 million estimated cost, with the remaining cost to be shared between the university and the three hospitals.