Public Support Calls For State Acquisition Of Greenway

January 20, 1991|By John Hattrup | John Hattrup,Guest columnist

The Piney Run Recreation and Conservation Council urges you (Gov. William Donald Schaefer) to approve the acquisition of Greenway Gardensto the Patapsco State Park's Morgan Run Area.

It is our understanding that the state Public Works Board deferred this agenda item for purchase because:

* Questions were raised as to whether enough volunteer support would be available to maintain the arboretum.

* Belt-tightening because of the state's fiscal deficit.

Based on our experience at Piney Run Park, the volunteer base in Carroll County is quite adequate invisitor services and upkeep at Greenway Gardens.

Piney Run has 692 members at its Nature Center. About 300 are active volunteers working more than 5,000 annual volunteer hours. The Carroll County Farm Museum has more than 250 volunteers working more than 10,000 volunteer hours in the 1989-1990 fiscal year.

Also, the county has many active garden clubs, Scouts and citizens concerned with conservation, naturalist projects and environment. There is no lack of volunteer interest in park and nature-oriented facilities in Carroll County.

Manypeople who want to see Morgan Run developed have approached the Department of Natural Resources, which provides services at the natural environment area.

But there is no focal facility for a volunteer group. If Greenway Gardens were added to the park holdings, there wouldbe a ready-made visitor center allowing immediate volunteer participation.

In April 1990, the state indicated it wanted to purchase Greenway Gardens. Between April and early December, there were many delays in the appraisal and land acquisition.

The $450,000 purchase amount was committed, but now is subject to elimination. Fiscal restraint is necessary, but we urge the state to proceed with its long-standing commitment to this purchase.

If the acquisition does not go forward soon, the owners will put the property back on the market. Greenway Gardens would be lost as a public facility.

Carroll County ranks very low in state-owned park facilities of all Maryland counties. This acquisition of 27 acres, including a restored 100-year-old farmhouse, 100-year-old barn remodeled into an education/visitor center,greenhouses and spectacular arboretum, would be a prime addition to our park area.

If Greenway Gardens is purchased, the state and county would be proud and pleased with this acquisition.

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