Despite the lobbying efforts of Towson residents over the last week, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz on Tuesday announced plans to sell the site of the 54-year-old Towson fire station — and identified Towson Manor Park as “a potential location” for the new station.
Residents and local elected officials alike have asked Kamenetz to remove the park from consideration and build the new proposed station elsewhere.
But despite some indication that the county has softened its stance from reportedly presenting the sale as a “done deal,” Towson Manor Park is still in play for the new station, with all other proceeds from the sale funding air-conditioning at Dumbarton Middle School.
According to a county news release, “the county recognizes that there might be alternative sites that may have been overlooked in the evaluation process, and maintains flexibility in the site selection.”
Kamenetz said in the statement that he appreciates the dialog with community residents, and he would continue to work with the community should a new county-owned site with “sufficient acreage, and acceptable to the public safety standards” of the fire department be identified.
The release noted that Towson Manor Park “fronts a major thoroughfare, is bordered by a state office building, the District Court, a parking garage and an auto repair shop... A portion of this site abuts a residential development. However, 70 percent of Baltimore County fire stations are located adjacent to residential communities.”
Any sale and subsequent investment, both into a new fire station and air conditioning at Dumbarton, is contingent on the county’s asking price being met for the fire station property.
The North Point Government Center in Dundalk and the Randallstown Police Substation were also identified as lands slated to be sold, with money raised reinvested to local schools.
"Regardless of where we eventually locate the new building, the news that our fire department will now have a state-of-the art fire station in the heart of Towson is very exciting," County Fire Chief John Hohman said in a statement.
County Councilman David Marks, who represents the 5th District including Towson, said in the statement that he supports the sale of the fire station property to air condition Dumbarton and build a new firehouse.
On Tuesday morning, however, Marks told the Towson Times he “firmly oppose(s) the relocation of the fire station to Towson Manor Village Park, and have been working behind the scenes with the County Executive’s office to find a more suitable site.”
“I don't want any green space eliminated,” Marks said. “Hopefully we will know something within the next two weeks.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun