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The Dripby Fern Shen8:33 amDec 23, 20210

Roland Park inks deal to buy 20 acres from the Baltimore Country Club for a public park

The $9 million sale price came after “multiple bids” due to “higher than anticipated” market pressure, the Roland Park Community Foundation said

Above: The conceptual plan for “Hillside Park” in Roland Park. (rolandpark.org)

The hilly green swath of land owned by the Baltimore Country Club in north Baltimore won’t be a retirement facility or high-end single-family houses.

The Baltimore Country Club has agreed to sell a 20-acre portion of its land to the Roland Park Community Foundation for $9 million, allowing the group to move ahead with plans for a public park to be called Hillside Park. It is expected to be open in 2024.

“Park design will feature passive and active areas, walking paths, open vistas, possible playing fields or other spaces for sports,” the Foundation said in an announcement yesterday.

Located between the clubhouse at 4712 Club Road and Falls Road, the parcel will next undergo “a public input phase and design process” involving Morgan State University’s Graduate Landscape Architecture students, plus multiple neighborhoods and local schools.

A steering group for the new park will be formed in the coming months, with the goal of determining “the best ways to create a safe, fun, welcoming public space,” the announcement said.

“We believe it will be the largest public park to open in Baltimore City in over 100 years,” Marty Brunk, president of Baltimore Country Club and Mary Page Michel, chair of the Roland Park Community Foundation, said in the joint statement.

Development Pressure

The deal ends a period of uncertainty and, at times contention, as the 123-year-old Country Club began shifting its operations to its Timonium campus and interest was expressed by various parties  including, in 2008, the Keswick Multi-Care Center.

• Bid for 20-acre tract submitted; Roland Park awaits word (6/3/21)

“Due to strong market demand from developers interested in single-family housing on the property, the price was higher than anticipated,” the Foundation said, noting that it “had to increase its bid several times.”

The fundraising campaign, which has so far raised about 70% of the purchase price, will continue, the groups says.

An FAQ on the Roland Park website has more information on the land purchase and plans for the park.

It notes that the park will be designed in the style of Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of New York City’s Central Park, and that it will be maintained by private donations, not city funds.

The answer to one of the questions – “Can we sled on the hill this winter?” – will disappoint neighborhood kids.

“Unfortunately, no! Due to liability concerns, it is anticipated that BCC will strictly enforce its no trespassing policy. Out of respect for the cooperation between BCC and the Foundation, we hope neighbors will respect this rule.”

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