Harford moving forward with plans to buy Rock Glenn site for parkland

As Harford County and the City of Aberdeen disclosed recently, Aberdeen area residents could get some new athletic fields on Rock Glenn Boulevard.

The county is still looking into buying a 21-acre site in the 2000 block of Rock Glenn Road to use for soccer fields that parks and recreation director Arden McClune said are much needed in that area.

McClune said the county does not usually discuss its negotiations but in this case, Aberdeen needed to confirm it would contribute $200,000 toward the purchase.

She also said last week that the purchase price of the park site is expected to cost $2.4 million, or roughly $114,000 an acre. The purchase is not expected to be before the Harford County Board of Estimates for several months, once funding is worked out.

The property is across from Medline Industries and is owned by DBB LLC, which includes Bob Hockaday, Dr. Richard Streett and former Harford state delegate William Cox, who confirmed the identities of the LLC's principals. The trio developed the Rock Glenn community after the area was annexed by the City of Aberdeen.

The property had been planned for 90 townhomes in 2006, a project that never materialized.

McClune said the site would include at least two soccer fields, parking and ancillary uses, perhaps a pavilion.

It would go a long way toward the county's continued goal of having 30 acres of preserved land per 1,000 people, as established by the state's Department of Natural Resources. Harford, which a population of about 247,000, is at a ratio of 29.7 acres per 1,000 residents, McClune said.

"The county population is not growing as quickly as it was but it is still growing, and if we want to keep that 30 acres or continue to maintain where we are, we need to continue looking for properties for acquisition over time," she explained.

The Aberdeen Recreation Council has use of fields at North Deen Park and Demarco Memorial Park, McClune said. Although the county has a good relationship with schools, the public school system "obviously" has priority for using the fields at its facilities, she said.

In the Aberdeen area, fields for activities such as soccer and lacrosse are therefore "a high priority," McClune said.

The DBB property is also ideal because it has already been graded and does not need a lot of work to be turned into playing fields.

The county typically waits to be approached about a property, McClune said, and this site has been under discussion for about a year.

Because of that, McClune said the site is the only one that has been considered in the Aberdeen area.

She noted another property is being considered in the northern part of the county, which she declined to talk about until it comes before the Board of Estimates.

In general, she added," we are always looking at a variety of properties that people have come to us with."

Whether the county can afford to buy the Rock Glenn site will depend on Program Open Space money from the state, which McClune pointed out has been far less plentiful than it was in the past.

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