The Towson architectural firm of William F. Kirwin Inc. has won the competition to design a cancer survivors park at Fairmount Avenue and Goucher Boulevard.
The park will be constructed on an acre of Baltimore County property with $1 million donated by Richard A. Bloch, a co-founder of tax giant H&R Block. The property is next to Towson Town Center, immediately east of the Nordstroms department store.
Construction is expected to begin in late spring. The Kirwin design, which features a waterfall and an area for statuary, won in a field of about 30 entries. The company will get $50,000 to transform its design into a working model.
Kirwin designed the landscaping at University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the Korean War Memorial in Canton. Independent architects Werner Mueller and Luke Tigue worked with Mr. Kirwin and Tom Kramer on the architectural design.
Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is donating about $160,000 in time and labor for engineering work.
Mr. Bloch was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1978 and was told he had three months to live. He got a second opinion from a doctor who told him: "We're going to cure you so that you can work for cancer."
Since then, he and his wife, Annette, have devoted their lives -- and a good part of their fortune -- to helping people battle the disease.
The prototype survivors park, built in 1989, is in Mr. Bloch's home town of Kansas City, Mo. Other parks have been built or are being built in Omaha, Neb.; Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland and New Orleans.
Landscaping will tie a narrow strip of land across Fairmount Avenue to the park. Maintenance costs will come out of the $1 million, and Towson Town Center will make a small number of parking spaces available on its lot for park visitors.
VTC The park will include eight life-sized figures depicting phases of cancer treatment and a computer listing the names of all five-year cancer survivors in the Baltimore area who agree to have their names included.
One element will be a positive "mental attitude" walk through which people can stroll, meditate and read 14 plaques. Four plaques will be inspirational, while the others will offer suggestions for fighting cancer.
Wayne Harman, director of the county Department of Recreation and Parks, said he hopes to attract broad community involvement, including young people, cancer survivors and the medical community.
Mr. Bloch wants to convey the message that cancer shouldn't be equated with death, and that a positive attitude is important to survival. He sold his interest in H&R Block and has created several foundations devoted to fighting cancer.
Maryland has the highest cancer death rate among the 50 states, according to the American Cancer Society.