Radebaugh park development awaits greenhouse demolition, which is set for next year

Plans for the development of Radebaugh Neighborhood Park, in Towson, are on hold until Baltimore County officials can conduct an engineering study designed to determine how to tear down three greenhouses on the site, a county official said this week, adding that the study is not expected to be completed until 2018.

In the meantime, an official with the neighborhood association of a community that borders the park said that residents are disappointed with the county's lack of progress at the site.

"We're not thrilled," said Aigburth Manor Association Vice-president Paul Hartman, who added that the condition of the now-vacant property is deteriorating.

The county purchased the roughly 2.4-acre plot from C.M. and J.L. Radebaugh Company LLC in December following more than a year of negotiations.

The plot, located between Aigburth Road and Burke Avenue, which is the previous site of Radebaugh Florist and Greenhouses, contains three abandoned greenhouses the Radebaugh family once used as part of its floral business.

The family sold the plot to the county with the provision that it would become a park, and county officials announced in June 2015 that they would work to build a park on the parcel.

Though officials have not yet set a timeline for the park's development, some neighbors say they expected the project to move more quickly than it has.

The Baltimore County Council named the proposed neighborhood park in January after the fourth-generation Radebaugh family business, which operated on the land on which the park would be built. The family continues to use an unsold portion of the property for its business, including a design center and warehouse. The flower shop and greenhouses on East Burke Avenue remain open.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced in November that the county would proceed with the $1.1 million acquisition of the property after an environmental study of the land found no problems that would prevent its purchase.

In March, the Radebaugh family donated an additional parcel of land, including a house, at 11 Maryland Ave. that backs up to the parcel. County officials tore down that house in the spring.

The greenhouses must be torn down before plans for the park can move forward, Baltimore County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said July 13. Additionally, the county must conduct an engineering study to determine how to tear down the structures, though Kobler did not immediately respond to requests for what the study would determine or why it was necessary.

Kobler called the demolition of the greenhouses "complex" and said the demolition would require extensive engineering work that will not be completed until 2018.

"Once that is completed, the county will begin preparing the bid package for the demolition and the work will be put out to public bid," Kobler said in an email on July 13.

The county's property management department will manage the site in the meantime, but planning for the park's design is not expected to start until spring 2018, after demolition is completed, Kobler said.

Five-foot weeds have spread throughout the site since it was sold, Radebaugh Florist co-owner Kaitlin Radebaugh said, adding that the family has had to call police on occasion to report trespassers.

"It's become quite an eyesore," Radebaugh said, adding that broken glass from the greenhouses have made the property a hazard.

Hartman said he expected work to begin on the park after the county agreed to purchase the land.

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents Towson, said he is also disappointed with the lack of progress and that county officials have given him no clear timeline for the park's completion, though he has asked for one.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Rachael Pacella contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
45°