Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the expected requests for proposals today in an emailed statement. The plan, as announced, also includes a new site for the construction of a fire station in Towson.
"As always, the market will tell us whether or not our valuation of the properties is correct," Kamenetz said in the statement. "If we are right, then we will be able to replace a police precinct and a fire station for free at no cost to the taxpayers. "We will also be able to dedicate funds for badly needed school renovation projects. Difficult economic times require us to devise new ways of doing business. We have to find creative ways to rebuild our aging infrastructure while protecting taxpayer dollars."
The properties are expected to draw some attention from developers.
Kamenetz, in an interview last month, said the Towson Fire Station and the North Point Government Center are the focus of intense interest.
John Vontran, a former amusement and vending machine vendor turned developer and political ally of Councilman John Olszewski Sr., has expressed interest in a land swap with the county for the North Point Government Center. In 2008, Vontran, with the support of Olszewski, bought the site of the former Yorkway Apartment complex for about $1.6 million–less than 10 percent of the $22 million the county paid for the property.
The current site of Eastwood Elementary school is one possible location for a new police station. That school is slated to be closed at the end of the year. Students from that school would be combined with those at Norwood Elementary and Holabird Middle School.
In Towson, Kamenetz said the county still hopes to use the proceeds from the sale of the current fire station location at Bosley Avenue and York Road to build a new station.
Originally, the county considered building the new station on the current site of Towson Manor Park. Neighbors opposed that location. Left over funds would go to purchase technology improvements and air conditioning in schools including Dumbarton Middle School.
Kamenetz, in his statement, said he plans to build the new station at the corner of Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard—currently the site of a fueling station for the county fleet.
"If we are able to move forward with the construction of a new fire station, I am delighted that we will be able leave Towson Manor Park intact," Kamenetz said in his statement. "That park is an important amenity for the community and valuable open space in Towson. I appreciate all of the input that I received from community members and Councilman [David] Marks as we worked through this process."
Marks, in that statement, said "private discussions" with Kamenetz "yielded such great news."
"Putting the station on the site of the County's fueling station at Towsontown and Bosley Avenues makes perfect sense," Marks said.
Towson community activists said they felt 'blindsided" by the initial plan to build the station on the park but applauded the new site announced by Kamenetz. Now they want Towson Manor Park permanently protected.
"We're thrilled that the park has been taken out of consideration but it really never should have been in the first place," said Ed Kilcullen, a Towson Manor Village resident and former president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations. "We're looking through what we can do make sure it isn't targeted again."