Baltimore Country Club turns down bid from two private schools for land purchase

June 17, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A joint bid by two private schools to acquire a prime piece of Roland Park real estate has been turned down by the Baltimore Country Club, which owns the land and has been approached several times by interested buyers, school officials said.

Friends School of Baltimore and the Roland Park Country School expressed interest this year in buying the 18-acre parcel from the club. But school officials say that they have been unable to reach an agreement with the club on a purchase price and other details.

The land, off Falls Road and Hillside Road, is considered valuable because it is one of the only open green spaces in Roland Park. The two schools had hoped to use the land for athletic fields.

Country club management could not be reached for comment.

Friends School spokeswoman Heidi Blalock said yesterday that the school has not given up its quest for the land.

Also still interested in buying the land is the Roland Park Civic League, which this year unsuccessfully attempted to join with the two schools in crafting a bid on the property.

David Blumberg, president of the civic league, said the organization still wants to acquire the land. He said the league's fund-raising arm is trying to come up with a strategy for buying the parcel.

Blumberg said two other Roland Park community assets would also be considered at a community foundation meeting tomorrow night - the city branch library and the Italianate water tower - because both are in need of costly renovation the community expects to fund.

He estimated that a country club land bid would require $6 million to $7 million, the already-planned library expansion will cost at least $1 million, and the water tower project would cost between $250,000 and $500,000, provided the community acquires the tower from the city.

The civic league's plan calls for keeping the property permanently undeveloped. Blumberg said he thinks the plan to preserve the land as open space will score points with the country club board and membership.

"We hope that they will accept a lesser offer from the community than the schools," he said.

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