County Completes Deal For Park Land In Bel Air

October 21, 1990|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

The County Council has approved spending $190,000 to complete the purchase of 50 acres of land from the John Hoza family in Bel Air that will be developed as a county park.

The land, generally referred to as the Hoza property, is located on Route 22 next to the John Carroll High School.

James M. Jewell, the county treasurer, said money for the purchase came from Project Open Space funds which are raised through fees charged by the state for recording property transfers, deeds and other documents.

Jewell said the county was about $190,000 short of the $2 million purchase price and needed money from the county general fund to make up the difference.

He said County Executive Habern W. Freeman agreed to use general fund money to complete the deal.

The land is zoned for intense development, but will be left as all open space, he said.

Although all seven council members said they support retaining open space, Councilwoman Barbara A. Risacher, D-District A, and Councilman J.

Robert Hooper, D-District D, voted against the measure. They said they were concerned about spending money in the county's fund balance -- a pool of money unspent at the end of each budget year.

The council's approval to spend the $190,000 culminates 2 years of negotiations to buy the property. The transfer of property to the county is scheduled to take place Jan. 2, 1991.

Stan Kozenewski, director of parks and recreation for the county, said his department wants to improve the park with areas for active recreation, such as soccer or softball. Other areas of the park will be set aside as nature trails, for so-called "passive" use. Kozenewski said parks and recreation officials would begin drawing up a plan for the park late next summer. He did not know when it would be open to the public.

Charles Craster, son-in-law of property owner Jenovefa Hoza, said the family decided to sell the land to the county to prevent development.

"We were getting an average of one or two telephone calls or letters from developers a month, but the old gentlemen used to always say this is the green," said Craster, rolling his R's. "We wanted to respect that. And Mrs. Hoza is European, from Czechoslovakia. Europeans have a kind of regard and respect for the people that make up their hamlet. She wanted to give the people of Bel Air the opportunity to enjoy the park."

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