After a year of negotiations, Baltimore County and state officials have worked out an agreement to buy a controversial city-owned park in Cub Hill for $1.9 million, according to a legislator involved in the talks.
Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, who is helping to orchestrate the deal, said he anticipates state approval to buy Graham Memorial Park off Harford Road in a few months -- a proposal that has sent ripples of relief through the community.
"That's great to hear," said Jana Leonard of Parkville, a park visitor for 20 years. "I was very concerned about commercialization in the Cub Hill area."
Last spring, nearby residents and nature lovers protested a city proposal to turn the park into a $6.5 million multisports complex with a golf course. Although the city put that plan on hold, the community feared the 113-acre parcel that borders Gunpowder Falls State Park would be developed.
"It worried everyone," said Dan Doerer of Carney, president of the Baltimore Bowmen, a 100-member archery group that has used the park since 1961. "We want to go on like we are."
Graham Park, which was given to the city in 1954 by Albert D. Graham, a Baltimore bank official, has been a haven for hikers, equestrians, archers, cross-country skiers and wildlife over the years.
Bromwell, a Democrat representing the area, said he wants park visitors to continue using the park. "My intent is that they never leave there."
Republican Del. Alfred W. Redmer Jr., whose 8th District includes the park, said he and Dels. Katherine Klausmeier, a Democrat, and James F. Ports Jr., a Republican, will schedule a meeting with park users once the acquisition is final.
County officials envision the park retaining its grassy and wooded terrain rather than becoming recreational fields.
bTC "There is a need for ball fields that is being addressed," said County Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder, a Fullerton Democrat, referring to $8 million proposed in the county budget for playing fields and playgrounds. "But at the same time, there is a need to keep natural open spaces."
This week, County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger said the county will contribute $750,000 -- secured during the recent legislative session -- toward the purchase of Graham Park.
Other state and city officials declined to comment on the park, except to say negotiations continue. To proceed with the sale, the city would need approval from the Board of Estimates and City Council.
Pub Date: 4/17/98