Adelaide Bentley Park to open Wednesday in East Towson

An East Towson park that has been several years in the making will officially open Wednesday.

NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, a nonprofit land preservation group, will host a ribbon cutting at Adelaide Bentley Park Wednesday.

The group named the park in honor of Bentley, a longtime resident of the historically African-American community, in 2013. Bentley, 88, is the president of the North East Towson Improvement Association, which will maintain the park.

Last week, Bentley said that she was "thankful and appreciative" that the park was named for her.

The half-acre plot, which is near Bentley's East Pennsylvania Avenue home, was overgrown, full of brush and weeds. Mulched beds and pathways now line the park.

"It is much better looking than it was," Bentley said.

The group planted new trees and more than 200 perennials.

"The lot was full of invasive species and, through various grants, several of which came from county government, we've completely overhauled the place," NeighborSpace executive director Barbara Hopkins said.

NeighborSpace works to protect and improve land for parks, gardens, trails and natural areas within Baltimore County's Urban Rural Demarcation Line, where, its officials say, 90 percent of the county's population lives on one-third of the county's land area.

Since acquiring the property from Baltimore County in 2013, NeighborSpace has spent more than $8,000 to remove invasive species and dead or decaying trees on the site, including bringing goats in to clear brush, spraying weeds, removing trees and mulching. Reforestation and related expenses cost an additional $19,000, Hopkins said.

In the future, the group hopes to be able to install benches in the park, Hopkins said. In the meantime, "rustic" tree stumps provide seating.

NeighborSpace will also launch a new fundraising and educational effort named after longtime county employee Donald Outen, who retired from the county's Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability in January.

The Donald C. Outen Urban Tree Society will raise money for ongoing efforts to improve Baltimore County's tree canopy, one of NeighborSpace's goals. Those who attend the ribbon cutting for Adelaide Bentley Park can choose to sponsor trees in the park.

The 6 p.m. ribbon cutting will be followed by a celebration that includes beer, wine and light refreshments. Contributions toward the park's stewardship will be accepted.

Visitors are asked to park in a lot owned by Stanley Black & Decker, off East Joppa Road. The lot is adjacent to the new park. The park entrance is on East Pennsylvania Avenue.

Register at www.neighborspacebaltimorecounty.org or by calling 443-377-3760.

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