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Baltimore County government plans to purchase flood-prone properties in Towson

The bridge in the Overbrook neighborhood of Towson that crosses Herring Run and routinely floods. The County Council will vote on the purchase of two properties on the other side of the bridge.
The bridge in the Overbrook neighborhood of Towson that crosses Herring Run and routinely floods. The County Council will vote on the purchase of two properties on the other side of the bridge. (Libby Solomon/Towson Times / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

After a nine-year endeavor, Baltimore County government is moving forward with its plans to purchase two properties in the Overbrook neighborhood of Towson.

The County Council is scheduled to vote March 15 to purchase the first of the properties. The date for the vote on the purchase of the second property is under negotiation.

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The acquisition of the properties, both of which have homes on them, will allow crews to mitigate storm-related flooding along the stream running through the neighborhood and move forward with the Six Bridges Trail, a project connecting a series of small parks throughout East Towson.

The properties sit at the end of the Worthington Road cul-de-sac and are separated from the road by a private bridge across Herring Run, which drains the east side of downtown Towson.

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After heavy rainfall, residents say, water from the stream can rise, covering and damaging the bridge, and cutting off their access to the road.

County Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, said the purchase of the properties and removal of the houses will offer residents more space and better access to the trail.

“The idea is that the county will purchase these two properties and will allow for a drainage area when there is flooding,” Marks said. “The other purpose [is] to create an access point to the proposed Six Bridges Trail that will run along the Herring Run.”

David Riley, an advocate for the creation of the Six Bridges Trail project, said the purchase and removal of the houses will help make the trail a reality.

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“What I hope will happen is a discussion [about] what is the real future of the Six Bridge Trail project and how we can turn that area into something that is a real asset to the community,” Riley said.

Tammy Cyzyk, 60, and her husband, Mark, own the home the County Council is voting to acquire March 15. They moved there after marrying in 2008. After experiencing flooding in their home, the couple recently moved into the Ridgely Condominiums on Joppa Road.

“The bridge that goes across the Herring Run was starting to sink, and we had so many floods from the uncontrolled stormwater that was coming down from Towson and it would overflow the bridge,” she said. “In 2015, the flooding was really bad and 12 cars in our neighborhood were completely destroyed and we lost two cars ourselves.”

While they lived in the house, she said, the county did great deal to help them during the flooding.

Cyzyk said the addition of the trail will enhance the neighborhood and bring the community together.

“It’s the perfect way to use the flood-prone lands over there [for] a park, instead of having houses there,” she said. “It’ll be a place for people to enjoy open space, so I’m excited about that piece.”

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