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Harford County wants to buy Havre de Grace waterfront property for $3.4 million

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

4:37 PM EDT, September 11, 2013

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Harford County wants to buy seven waterfront parcels in Havre de Grace to build the trail head for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

The County Council introduced bills Tuesday evening that would let the county spend a total of $3.47 million on properties known as 649 and 627 Water St.

Those two addresses include a total of seven parcels.

Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, who represents Havre de Grace and is executive director of the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, confirmed after the meeting the purchase would be part of a bigger plan to create a "Waterfront Heritage Park" along the Susquehanna.

She said the Water Street parcels have an area bigger than city's popular Millard Tydings Park and would, she hopes, eventually connect with the open space farther north around the Lock House Museum and quarry.

"The idea is for it to be a heritage park to celebrate the first contact [of Captain John Smith on what is now the U.S.]," Lisanti said.

The National Park Service has already awarded a $50,000 grant toward the design of the project, Lisanti said.

She also noted Perryville just completed a 750-foot pier that would create a "golden triangle" with Havre de Grace and Garrett Island.

The Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, meanwhile, is negotiating an easement around the Havre de Grace quarry site, Lisanti said.

The park idea is part of the National Park Service's goal of introducing national parks in more urban areas, Lisanti said.

Five of the parcels, which total 161,195 square feet, would be bought from MTBR Yacht Club LLC for $2.7 million.

The other two would total 38,532 square feet and would be bought for $770,000.

The other council members did not discuss the bills during the meeting and Council President Billy Boniface has a policy of not talking about bills that were just introduced.

A hearing on the bills is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 8.