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Free event open to the public 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz invites the public to a celebration to kick off the County’s participation in the “United We Fight. United We Win” campaign of the United Way of Central Maryland.

FallFest 2017 will be held on Friday, October 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse gardens along Washington Avenue in downtown Towson. The event will feature scarecrow-making, games and contests, food trucks, vendors, a silent auction, kittens available for adoption, music and more. The event is being held rain or shine.


Planning Money for Two High Schools Will be Included in Next Budget

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that he will include county planning funds for two new high schools in his FY 19 budget request.  Based upon enrollment projections, the schools would serve the Towson area and the central-northeast area.

“After numerous meetings with education experts and community leaders, it is clear that Baltimore County needs to alleviate overcrowding in the Towson area, as well as the central-northeast corridor," said Kamenetz.  "We need to resolve overcrowding at Towson High, although there are complications due to the school's designation as a County historic structure. The location of a second new school to alleviate overcrowding in the central-northeast corridor will be influenced by the pending high school enrollment reassessment currently being conducted by the school system. Nevertheless, it is clear that we need to fund two new schools to resolve overcrowding."

Although the County School Board recently added a last-minute amendment on Tuesday to its capital budget, calling for two new high schools at specific locations, there is insufficient time for the school system to provide necessary data to state officials to be considered by the state during its fall review. However, the commitment by County Executive Kamenetz for county planning money will ensure that planning for two new high schools can continue at the county level.

By 2026, the school system projects that Towson High will be 456 students over state-rated capacity. The same study indicates that two schools in the central-northeast corridor also face overcrowding, with Dulaney High School at 188 students over state-rated capacity by 2026, and Perry Hall High at 234 students overcapacity. Kamenetz's high school plans would eliminate the projected overcrowding.

Schools for Our Future

When County Executive Kamenetz was elected in 2010, Baltimore County faced overcrowded schools and outdated school buildings.

In response, Kamenetz crafted a $1.3 billion dollar Schools for Our Future program, the largest single investment in school construction in the history of the County, building 16 new schools, and 15 renovations and additions.

During this initiative, Baltimore County has contributed $2 to every state dollar for school construction. “Baltimore County is not alone in its need for new schools,” said Kamenetz. “Governor Hogan must increase the state’s contribution for school construction if school districts all over the state are to remain competitive.”


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