End is in sight for arboretum sale State will use site as education center SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

December 10, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The state Department of Natural Resources secretary had reason for his late arrival at Greenway Gardens yesterday.

"I came late on purpose in honor of how long it took us to buy this place," Dr. Torrey C. Brown said with a laugh.

The $450,000 transaction took more than three years to arrange, said Bernie Wentker, regional administrator for the state's Program Open Space. And it's still not quite a done deal.

"The acquisition has been approved by the state Board of Public Works, pending a bond sale," said Mr. Wentker. "Hopefully, that will happen any day now. We are just waiting for the right economic climate."

Dr. Brown met with county officials to tour the 27-acre tract on Nicodemus Road, which the state plans to use as a park and education center.

"We are hoping to put this place on the map," said Mr. Wentker. "It's amazing how many people don't know it exists."

"We have big plans for this place, too," said County Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he was envisioning the site as an ideal place for meetings and educational programs.

"I know the [Agricultural] Extension Service can't wait to get in here, too," he said.

Dr. Brown presented a certificate of appreciation to Zeeger and Dottie deWilde, the landowners who for the past 17 years have transformed open pasture land into an arboretum, with a collection of trees from around the world, and a variety of gardens.

He said the couple had drawn "splendor out of nature."

"We don't usually give citations to people we buy land from," he said. "The net for the state and county is fabulous because of the work you did. We would never have had the time or the money to create what you have."

Mrs. deWilde, 63, gave a slide show, which depicted the beginnings and results of the couple's efforts. About 30 people viewed photos of the grounds as they look through all seasons of the year.

"Everything here has a story, and almost everything is planted with its plant family," she said.

Her 62-year-old husband said he hoped Carroll citizens would enjoy their efforts.

Mr. Lippy said he was struck by the beauty of the place as soon as he saw it.

"I kept my fingers crossed during all the interminable meetings, that it would happen," he said.

"Thanks to the deWildes, this lovely place will bring continuous joy for many years to come and the people of Carroll County are the benefactors," he said.

With a lunar eclipse in the background, Mrs. deWilde took her guests on a walk around the grounds.

"These are soon to be your Greenway Gardens," she said.

"We are so grateful that the arboretum will continue after us," she said.

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