Neighbors offer suggestions for new Towson park's uses Basketball is rejected, multiuse section favored

March 13, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Towson's newest park could have a picnic area, soccer fields, tot lots or nature trails. But something several neighbors don't want are basketball courts.

They fear that unsupervised basketball could lead to trouble, they told John F. Weber, director of the county Recreation and Parks Department, at a meeting to discuss uses for the 12-acre tract off Regester Avenue.

"Parks turned over to youth with no supervision do turn into those problems," Mr. Weber conceded. But he added, "The record of problems in Towson parks is nonexistent."

Still, basketball nets and hoops have been removed at nearby Stoneleigh Elementary School and Dumbarton Middle School because of vandalism.

About 100 residents turned out at the public hearing Monday night at Stoneleigh Elementary to share their concerns about safety and ideas for the unnamed park, often referred to as the Genstar property because it formerly was owned by the stone-products company.

"How do you ensure the safety of our children while they are there?" asked Paige Tyrie-Callegary of Idlewylde. "All of us will appreciate and use it if it is safe."

Mr. Weber assured the residents that he wanted their suggestions before he and his staff decided on the best use for the recently acquired $400,000 property bordered by the communities of Stoneleigh, Anneslie, Idlewylde, Glendale-Glenmont and Loch Hill.

"I need you to use it," he said. "I don't want you to be surprised."

Possibilities included gardens, an exercise course, a sand volleyball area and an arboretum.

Several members of the Towson Recreation Council encouraged building grassy athletic fields for soccer, baseball and lacrosse. "There is a tremendous need," said Paul Sherry, who has coached youth programs for 10 years.

Besides the thumbs-down on basketball courts, some residents didn't want athletic fields, a swimming pool or skateboard areas.

A multiuse park seemed to be the most-preferred concept for the sloping property.

"We represent a continuum from 3-year-olds to senior citizens," said Justin King, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations. "You could have a small-scale tot lot on the upper part. On the lower part, you could have [grass] playing fields and soccer fields. The area around the stream could be developed into some kind of gardens."

Mr. Weber said another meeting would be held in May or June to announce the best uses for the park.

Then a consulting firm would be called in to work out details, a process that could take two to three years, he said.

In the spring, the park will be cleaned up for public use, possibly with the addition of picnic tables and grills, Mr. Weber said.

Pub Date: 3/13/96

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