City buys land as buffer for Gwynns Falls Trail Site is near entrance to 14-mile project

April 10, 1997|By Marilyn McCraven | Marilyn McCraven,SUN STAFF

The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation group, has helped the city buy 3.27 acres of land in West Baltimore near the entrance to the planned Gwynns Falls Trail.

The vacant land, off Swann Avenue in the Hunting Ridge neighborhood, will be a buffer for part of the 14-mile trail.

Area residents are "pleased that as much parkland as possible is being preserved near our neighborhoods and that development will be limited," said Edward Orser, a longtime Hunting Ridge resident.

The city purchased the land recently from the Archdiocese of Baltimore for $37,500, using money from the state Program Open Space, said Debi Osborne, a spokesman for the Trust for Public Land who negotiated the purchase for the city.

Area residents had successfully fought development of the site at least twice in the past 20 years or so. Several years ago, residents' opposition helped scuttle a planned townhouse community. Before that, a proposed high-rise for the elderly was blocked.

The green space is an important addition for practical and environmental reasons, said Terri Charles, project coordinator for the Trust for Public Land. She said it gives local residents direct access to the trail and helps preserve an undeveloped area with abundant wildlife.

Construction of the Gwynns Falls Trail is to begin this year. It will connect parks and neighborhoods, following the Gwynns Falls stream valley from Leakin Park through the city to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

The five-mile section that will be built first will stretch from Franklintown to the edge of Edmondson Village. Funding will come from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, a federal transportation program and other sources.

The second and third phases will continue the hiking and biking trails through Carroll Park to the Inner Harbor and the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

The Trust for Public Land has helped the city acquire about 20 acres along and near the route of the proposed trail.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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