Bank to help preserve community building

Randallstown landmark vacant since last year

April 03, 2001|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Until last week, the defenders of the 74-year-old Randallstown Community Building were worried it might be demolished - even with its new historical landmark status.

But the building's owner, Bank of America, has promised to help find a buyer who will preserve the stone building at Liberty and Offutt roads.

Leaders of Fieldstone Community Group met last week with bank officials after hearing that the bank might sell the building to someone willing to pay the county's $100,000 fine for razing a landmark, said Susan Carr-Spiccioli, the group's historian.

Instead, the bank extended beyond June its previous deadline for the community to find someone to preserve it.

"This is obviously a very important piece of the community, and we will do everything we can to find a buyer for the property who will preserve and protect it," bank Vice President Richard Murrell said in a prepared statement.

The bank's newfound interest in saving the building left the community group "ecstatic," Carr-Spiccioli said. "We thought we were in a spot, and they bailed us out."

In February, the bank sent a letter to the Baltimore County Council objecting to the building's landmark status.

"They said they didn't have enough time to work with the community. We thought that was unfounded. They heard from us in September 1998," Carr-Spiccioli said.

But at last week's meeting with Fieldstone residents, bank officials backed off their objection to the landmark status, noting that the bank "has been a long-standing advocate of historic preservation," Murrell said.

The building was built in 1927 by Seymour K. Ruff, a prominent stonemason and developer who also built the stone houses in the Fieldstone community.

The community building was used as a bowling alley, auditorium and post office. Since the bank moved out last year, the building has been vacant.

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