A small park in New Windsor won statewide recognition last week.
The Maryland Downtown Development Association, a nonprofit group affiliated with the state's housing department, gave the town an honorable mention in its Pride and Place awards for its adaptive reuse of a vacant parcel at Routes 31 (Main Street) and 75.
With $55,000 in state and town money, the spot has become a graceful park, with a wrought-iron archway inscribed with "New Windsor" at its entrance. A concert held there last week drew 125 people.
"We turned an unkempt eyesore on Main Street into a park and made it the first concrete step in our downtown revitalization," said Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. "We hope we can use this example to inspire others."
Benches, a gazebo, a flag pole and an antique fountain -- a longtime town landmark -- add to the welcoming atmosphere. The 6-foot-tall fountain, which stood for years at Main and High streets, had been in storage for about three years while officials searched for a home for it.
The town purchased the half-acre property from the state about two years ago by paying the $800 required to transfer the deed. Local officials agreed to maintain the property, keep it in public use and not build permanent structures.
"This is a great accomplishment, a symbol of New Windsor," Gullo said. "It shows vision and persistence for the betterment of the town."
The parcel had been the site of a stately home owned by Dr. George Brown, who had served in the Union Army as a surgeon during the Civil War. The home was condemned and razed about 10 years ago because truck traffic had undermined the foundation.
Gullo, accompanied by Councilwoman Rebecca Harman, accepted the award Wednesday in Bethesda. Jeanne Laudermilch and Fran Tolle, New Windsor volunteers who helped plan the park, also attended.
During a slide show of the winners, several pictures of the park were displayed, including the January dedication. The mayor received a certificate, which he plans to hang in Town Hall.
"It is great to be recognized by experts in the field and to stand out in the state," said Gullo.
Pub Date: 7/20/98