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Title: Kamenetz Hosts “Concrete-breaking” Celebration at Patriot Plaza

New Urban Park Coming to Towson Courthouses Next Summer

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz smashed through the concrete surface of the existing Patriot Plaza this morning, officially starting construction of a new urban park that brings more green open space to the people who live and work in, or visit, downtown Towson.

A crowd of Towson supporters, including Councilmen Julian Jones and David Marks, Delegate Steve Lafferty, Towson Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Hafford and County officials, looked on as the County Executive operated a hydraulic hammer on a large backhoe to take out a section of the stone fountain in the plaza’s center.  

The $5.5 million renovation project will remove nearly two acres of impervious concrete from the existing plaza, between the Historic Courthouse and Circuit Courthouse buildings and replace it with 1.8 acres of attractive green space with new pavers, sidewalks, seating walls, lighting and furnishings. The park will better showcase the existing memorials dedicated to fallen police and fire fighters.

“Towson is evolving into more of a 21st century vibrant urban center and beautiful public spaces are an important element in offering that lifestyle for people,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Our courthouse gardens have long offered a convenient place to take a break and enjoy nature, right in the heart of downtown Towson, and this new green space on the opposite side of the Historic Courthouse will offer a welcoming venue for people to gather during the week and for special events. We thank our community and civic leaders who gave helpful feedback that contributed to this design.”

The new green space 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 general contractor is Northpoint Builders and the civil engineering firm is JMT.

“This will be a welcome transformation and a complement to some of the other “green” efforts in town,” said Nancy Hafford, Executive Director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce. “This beautiful new space will expand the possibilities for great public events and gatherings.”

“I was pleased to be asked for my input on the park design, and I think the final result will be very attractive with the dramatic shift from hardscaping to green space,” said Paul Hartman, a member of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations.

"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 Banister 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 $5.5 million project 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. “We are committed to enhancing the quality of life in our County by providing attractive open space and community gathering places,” concluded Kamenetz. 

  


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017