Baltimore Country Club to sell 20 acres of land to Roland Park Community Foundation for new public park

The Baltimore Country Club has agreed to a deal with the Roland Park Community Foundation to sell 20 acres of land to the association for $9 million, the organizations said Wednesday.

The land transfer will result in a new public park — to be called Hillside Park — in the northern part of the city, an idea the community association raised at the beginning of this year when the country club publicized its decision to sell the land. In a joint statement, the two groups said the property garnered a high level of interest from potential buyers, but the agreement reached will serve the surrounding community’s needs best.


“The result of this transaction will be a new public park and open green space in Roland Park for everyone to enjoy,” said Marty Brunk, president of Baltimore Country Club, and Mary Page Michel, Roland Park Community Foundation chair, in a statement. “We believe it will be the largest public park to open in Baltimore City in over 100 years.”

The conceptual rendering for the planned Hillside Park in North Baltimore features athletic fields and courts, walking paths and a community garden. (Stone Hill Design Associates, Roland Park Community Foundation)

Preliminary plans for the new park show athletic courts for tennis, pickleball and basketball; a playground; a community garden; trails; large athletic fields for soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball; a parking lot; and a pavilion and amphitheater. It spans from the clubhouse on Club Road in Roland Park down to Falls Road, across from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Western High School’s athletic fields.


The foundation said it also will set up a steering committee and launch a “public input phase” that will look to source suggestions and ideas from community groups, seeking guidance from neighborhoods, local schools and Morgan State University graduate landscape architecture students. It also will establish an endowment fund for the park’s upkeep.

It will be designed in the style of Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the foundation said, with a focus on creating space for all.

“The pandemic has shown all of us the value of public green spaces and access to nature,” Michel said in a separate news release. “Hillside Park is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance green space in Baltimore City and protect it as a place to be experienced and enjoyed by the public from across the city forever.”

Over 70% of the acquisition funds have been raised from over 500 donors across the city and state, according to the foundation. A fundraising campaign is underway to raise the balance.

Roland Park land owned by the Baltimore Country Club will become Hillside Park, which could open by 2024.

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The club has considered selling portions of the 32 total acres a number of times over the years, sparking tensions within the community about potential ownership and usage. Neighbors protested after Keswick Multi-Care Center proposed building a retirement facility there in 2008. There are limited nonresidential uses permitted for the land under its zoning code.

The country club has minimized its footprint in the city as its space in Baltimore County grows; this sale, in fact, will help fund improvements at the Timonium campus.

Baltimore Country Club spokesperson John Maroon previously said leadership opted to invest in the Baltimore County site rather than the city site due to its “significantly larger” size and flexibility. The Timonium site’s master plan will be implemented over a number of years, he said, and will expand the Baltimore County clubhouse into space for indoor and outdoor dining.

Founded in 1898, the country club maintains a strong membership, which overwhelmingly supports the prospect of selling the land, Maroon said. It hosted the U.S. Open golf tournament at the Roland Park campus in 1899, and also operates pools, racket sports and duckpin bowling. The club employs about 400 people between both campuses, Maroon said, a number that has stayed roughly stagnant during the coronavirus pandemic.


The city club’s former golf course spread across both sides of Falls Road before the club closed it, selling the land on the west side of Falls Road for the high schools and Cross Keys development in the 1960s. The club will continue to use the remaining Roland Park campus space, which includes the clubhouse, for events, dining and other needs.

The transaction will be finalized upon the property’s subdivision and after remediation of environmental conditions, Brunk and Michel said, a process that could take up to 18 months to complete.

The park could open to the public by 2024.