Catonsville moved a step closer to adding a recreation park at a Maryland Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, when the board approved the sale of an 8.8-acre tract of land on the Spring Grove Hospital campus to Baltimore County for $1.32 million.
The land is on the east side of Maple Drive on the campus. It is part of a 196.1-acre parcel with a 73,000 square foot single-story hospital building called the Hamilton Building that is no longer being used by the state, according to a Baltimore County interoffice memorandum issued May 13.
The Westside Emergency Men's Shelter is on the site and will need to be relocated to build the park, according to 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz allocated $4 million in the budget for fiscal year 2015 to rebuild the Westside Men's Shelter on the grounds of Spring Grove.
The Spring Grove Hospital Center campus, which houses a 425-bed complex, has entrances at Bloomsbury Avenue, Frederick Road and Wilkens Avenue. All three entrances lead to the parcel being purchased.
The 200-acre campus is the site of the second oldest continuously operated psychiatric hospital in the U.S., and was established in 1797, according to its website.
"I appreciate the board's unanimous support. It makes it official that this park will be built," Quirk said. "The 8.8 acres are great. But I will be working to get more acreage for recreation space."
The Catonsville Parks and Recreation Council would also like to see additional acreage set aside for recreation at the site.
Sandy Owens, president of the Catonsville Parks and Recreation Council said, "The council is thankful for the 8.8 acres and looks forward to working with the county on hopefully expanding recreational opportunities at the Spring Grove property."
A timetable for the park hasn't been established, said Baltimore County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler.A work group that consists of the Catonsville Parks and Recreation Council and Bryan Sheppard, who represents Kamenetz in the area, is determining the best way to use the space at the park."It's very much a collaboration with the community to determine what their needs are," Kobler said.