Gochar said he contacted the state park service and learned that because the land did not touch the boundaries of Patapsco Valley State Park, the state park service didn't have interest in it.

Having worked with NeighborSpace after learning about the organization a few years ago, he contacted the nonprofit.

Gochar said the wait for the transfer of the property has been "very frustrating," but is looking forward to what could be.

"I would definitely like to see the lake put back together, which would mean clearing some of the trees that have grown where the lake was," Gochar said.

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"Having a lake in Catonsville with walking trails around it I think would be a real nice addition to Catonsville," he said.

Local reaction

Gochar isn't the only one looking forward to the project.

Councilman Tom Quirk, who represents the 1st District, which includes Catonsville; and Councilman David Marks, who represents the 5th District, which includes Perry Hall, White Marsh and part of Towson, as well as residents of Maple Avenue are also excited about the prospects.

Quirk attended last week's meeting and spoke about his support of NeighborSpace and this project.

"There's a lot of anxiety toward development," Quirk told the group at the fundraiser. "Sure, we're all concerned about traffic and school overcrowding; but on a more visceral level, we're concerned over the loss of what we used to consider a public good."

Having the property protected from development could open it to NeighborSpace's goal of turning the property into a recreational outdoors area with walking trails and a place to swim.

Though only streams are currently in the area, representatives of NeighborSpace expressed hope an existing dam could be closed to create a lake.

"I would be in favor of any preservation of land rather than development," said Chris Brupbacher, who has lived on Maple Avenue for 27 years.

Brupbacher said she would definitely utilize the proposed walking trails if they were developed.

Brupbacher's neighbor across the street, Jim Remeikis, said he would also enjoy walking the trails and anticipated bringing his dogs along.

Though, both were concerned by the potential of increased traffic on the narrow street, Remeikis, who has lived on Maple Avenue for 43 years, said it likely won't be a problem.

"People utilize places like that tend to be a little more respectful," Remeikis said. "They appreciate having a recreational area, so they sort of protect it."