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Representatives from Anne Arundel County and local environmental groups bundled up Thursday morning to tour the 19-acre waterfront property near Quiet Waters Park that was recently purchased by the county for about $8 million.

The tour was a long time coming, Director of Recreation and Parks Rick Anthony said, as the county has had its eye on the property, named Quiet Waters Retreat, for 15 years.

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“We had almost written it off,” Anthony said. “We thought it was never going to be a reality.”

The primary barrier has long been the cost — which was unrealistic for the county before the discovery of outside funding. Ultimately, the county will pay only about $350,000 for the property, which boasts 1,770 feet of shoreline, said Jessica Leys, deputy director of Recreation and Parks.

The Chesapeake Conservancy is handling a $2 million donation from donors James and Sylvia Earl, and the U.S. Navy is giving $1 million, said Chris Trumbauer, a senior adviser to County Executive Steuart Pittman. He expects the remainder of the cost to flow from Maryland’s Program Open Space initiative that supports conservation efforts.

Before that money comes in, Trumbauer said, the county is fronting the cost through a program called the Advance Land Acquisition Capital Project.

In order to tap into this fund, the County Council had to pass a resolution, which was approved unanimously in early October.

Thursday was the first time Pittman made it out to see the property.

“This is beautiful and amazing,” Pittman said, “I’m kind of overwhelmed.”

Standing on a sprawling farmhouse porch, Joel Dunn, the president of the Chesapeake Conservancy, asked everyone to turn and face the South River.

“If you look out behind you, that’s inspiration,” Dunn said. “It’s going to have immeasurable benefits for our community and for the Chesapeake.”

After an introduction from Anthony and Leys, the group of about 35 made a beeline for the precipice overlooking the water. They took photos of the view and squinted into the bright morning to see an eagle’s nest high up in a tree.

“You have my endorsement — we should all start every day out here,” Anthony said.

Eventually, the parcel will be open to the public as an extension of Quiet Waters Park, growing the park to 359 acres. Leys said the two will blend seamlessly to extend walking trails and recreation space.

Like Quiet Waters Park itself, the parcel is densely populated with trees and wide-open meadows. But because it has long been residential, it also has six structures.

Most prominently, there is a 6,175-square-foot farmhouse overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

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It’s unclear how recently the sprawling residence was occupied, but stepping inside feels like a trip to the 1960s. It’s mostly been emptied, but some furniture was left behind.

There’s a huge, floral rug in one room, and in what appears to be the master bedroom, there is a stand-up 8-track player and an Isley Brothers 8-track tape.

Near the water, across the pond from Quiet Waters dog park, a dilapidated boathouse is cordoned off with yellow caution tape. Rotting planks on the porch look like they might give out if a heron stopped for an afternoon rest.

County officials hope the boathouse is salvageable for use by the water sports community. It’s possible that it could eventually work for kayaking or stand up paddle boarding, but it likely won’t work for rowing.

“Due to the shallowness of the water in the entrance to the pond, and the closeness to the bay, this is not a good site for rowers,” said Chris Poulsen, coordinator of Anne Arundel Paddling and Rowing Community. “Dredging can only be done to a certain degree due to environmental concerns, so it would not allow the width needed for rowing boats to go in and out of the reserve area.”

Dunn said that over the next 18 months, the Chesapeake Conservancy will conduct an assessment of the buildings — including the 3-and-5 car garages, and an abandoned cottage — for safety, and potential future purposes. The salvageable buildings will likely be rented out to nonprofit organizations, Leys said.

Because the land has never served a public purpose before, the county will need to make capital improvements before opening it to the public.

Leys said she’s optimistic the new land will be open to the public within a year.

But anyone wanting an early look can join Alison Woodfield, Quiet Waters Park superintendent, for a New Year’s Day hike throughout the park, including the new portion, to celebrate the parks’ 30th anniversary.

Pittman said the county is “1,000%” on board with the project. He described the acquisition as a victory for public water access in the county.

Dunn said he’s never owned waterfront property, but, “Imagine, a blue-collar kid like me with a million-dollar view.”

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