Jul 26, 2014
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Community Leaders: Towson Manor Park Must Be Protected

Baltimore County took the park off the table as a potential site for a new firehouse following community outrage.

Community Leaders: Towson Manor Park Must Be Protected

Towson Manor Park is safe from county development efforts for now, and community leaders are hoping to keep it that way.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Monday that if sales of three government properties—including the current Towson fire station—go through, some of the funds raised would fund the construction of a new firehouse at the corner of Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard. Towson Manor Park was initally identified as the preferred site, but county officials looked into alternate locations amid community uproar.

"We were very much blindsided by the initial announcement [about the firehouse]," said Ed Kilcullen, a Towson Manor Village resident and former president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations.

Kilcullen said he appreciated that the county considered community input but thought the process could have been more transparent.

"We're thrilled that the park has been taken out of consideration but it really never should have been in the first place," he said. "We're looking through what we can do to make sure it isn't targeted again."

Current Greater Towson Council of Community Associations President Paul Hartman said he is exploring options to preserve the limited open space in Towson, including Towson Manor Park. He said one possibility is for the council to pursue a partnership with NeighborSpace, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and growing open space.

"We do want to make sure it stays a park," Hartman said.

Councilman David Marks, noting that open space is at a premium, said he will continue to work to preserve what's left in his district. Though Marks expressed his support for the new proposed firehouse site in a county news release, he said he stressed to Kamenetz the importance of adding green buffers between the site—a county fueling station—and Southland Hills, the nearest neighborhood.

"The bottom line is there was no other place to put [the firehouse]," he said.

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