Land being donated for road, park Hayden lauds the agreement BALTIMORE COUNTY

September 22, 1993|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Staff Writer

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden yesterday announced that major property owners in the last undeveloped portion of the Owings Mills growth area have agreed to donate land to the county for the extension of Red Run Boulevard, a sewer line and a 300-acre stream valley park.

This agreement -- in the form of a nonbinding memorandum of understanding -- helps bring to an end the county's six-year struggle to get U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval for the road and sewer line, Mr. Hayden said.

Just as important, he said, the agreement will save the county millions of dollars in land-acquisition and construction costs.

"The agreement is an important example of how government and the private sector can work closely together to achieve a mutual goal," said Mr. Hayden. The extension of Red Run Boulevard and the sewer line will serve an area north of Owings Mills Mall between Red Run, an environmentally sensitive trout stream, and Interstate 795.

This area, zoned primarily for office use, is projected to serve as a job center for the growth area to complement the residential hub, Owings Mills New Town.

In addition to donating the land for the road, sewer line and stream valley park, developers have agreed to share 40 percent of the cost of constructing the road.

The county already has $17 million in its capital budget for its share of the road.

The county will fund the sewer line and pay for the stream valley restoration.

The biggest chunk of donated land will be a 200- to 300-acre valley stream park, which will occupy a mile of the land along Red Run and include an arboretum and a native species ecological garden.

The stream valley park will replace a lake that the county originally planned as the centerpiece for the Owings Mills growth area.

All that is left, Mr. Hayden said, is for the Corps of Engineers to choose one or more alternative routes for the road and the sewer line. The corps is holding a public hearing at 7 o'clock tonight at Franklin High School to hear comments on alternative road and sewer routes.

County officials have been struggling with the Owings Mill growth area since Mr. Hayden backed off a long-standing proposal to build a dam that would turn Red Run into a 100-acre lake in 1992.

He gave up on the idea for the lake as the area's centerpiece because of increasingly strict U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' rules about damming trout streams and flooding wetlands.

Private developers who were planning expensive waterfront projects during the late 1980s have now turned to plans for offices and super-discount warehouse stores.

The end of the dam and lake idea did not make it easier for the county to get approval for extending Red Run Boulevard north along I-795, or for the sewer line.

In fact, it became harder because plans for both had to be redesigned and go back through county, state and federal regulatory reviews.

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