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Environmentby Ed Gunts4:30 pmMar 1, 20210

Roland Park foundation launches drive to purchase land for new city park

Up for grabs: one of the largest private open spaces left in north Baltimore

Above: Some of the 20 acres of rustic green space up for sale by the Baltimore Country Club along Falls Road. (Mark Reutter)

The Roland Park Community Foundation has officially launched a fundraising campaign to buy 20 acres of land from the Baltimore Country Club to create a park, after the club announced that the land is for sale.

The non-profit foundation is holding three virtual meetings in the coming weeks to explain the campaign and show people how to contribute.

The group recently led the effort to stabilize the historic Roland Water Tower in nearby Hoes Heights, which will have a community park at its base.

Behind-the-scenes donations to buy country club land have been robust, Roland Park leaders say (2/6/21)

The foundation will likely have to compete against deep-pocket commercial developers for what is one of the prized green spaces left in the city.

After a bitter fight with the community in 2016, the country club was unable to rezone the land for denser development. Currently, the property is zoned for residential housing with minimum lot sizes of 14,250 square feet.

Stone Hill Design, a Towson landscape architect, has developed a master plan for the proposed park, tentatively called Hillside Park.

Besides various trails running through the park from Edgevale, Falls and Hillside roads, the property could contain a community garden, baseball field, soccer or lacrosse field, pickleball and tennis courts, among other amenities.

Hillside Park proposed layout

Open to Public

The concept is for the park to be community owned and maintained, but “open, inclusive and equitable.” Hours of operation would be from dawn to dusk, the same as city-run parks.

In anticipation of the sale, the foundation had raised about $2 million as of January. Its overall goal is to raise $8 million. The seller’s broker has not publish an asking price for the land.

The announcement notes that Boys Latin School of Maryland recently paid $5.5 million to acquire 28 acres and a 40,000-square-foot building near its Baltimore County campus. Although “nothing is an exact comparison,” it states, “we think this does give us a ballpark idea about where our bid needs to be.”

The sale does not include the landmark clubhouse on Club Road, which will be retained by the country club.

Bids from prospective purchasers will be due about 60 days after the property is officially listed for sale, which means the foundation has a limited period to raise funds to make a bid for the park.

All gifts are tax deductible. More information about the fundraising campaign is available here.

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