Towson is one step closer to getting a new park at the site of a parcel owned by Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses, as County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Wednesday that Baltimore County will proceed with the purchase of the 2.36-acre property for $1.1 million, after an environmental study of the land found no issues that would prevent the purchase.
The county will convert the property, at 50 Aigburth Ave., into a community park, according to a county media release. The Radebaugh family, longtime proprietors of Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses at 120 E. Burke Ave. in Towson, signed an agreement to sell the parcel to the county on Sept. 15 — though that agreement was pending completion of the environmental assessment, which is routine, county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said in September.
Two state legislators are filing bond bills to help Baltimore County defray the cost of purchasing a Radebaugh Florist & Greenhouses satellite property that many Towson residents and community leaders say they want to see turned into a county park or recreational open space.
The Radebaugh family will continue to use a portion of the Aigburth Avenue property for its business, including a design center and warehouse, co-owner Kaitlin Radebaugh said in September. The business, including the flower shop on E. Burke Avenue, will remain open.
Attorney Dan Radebaugh, who represents the partnership of family members who own the floral company, said the sale process has been trying at times, but they were willing to work with the county instead of developers to ensure the property became green space. Kamenetz originally announced the potential open space acquisition in July of 2015.
Dan Radebaugh is a Towson-based real estate lawyer, whose, father, Stephen Radebaugh, is a principal in CM and JL Radebaugh Co., LLLP, which owns the land in question.
"What has been most important to us is to maintain a great relationship with our neighbors and the Towson community," Dan Radebaugh said, adding that the business, founded in 1924, hopes to operate in Towson for another century.
The money for the purchase will come from Program Open Space, a state land preservation program funded by the real estate transfer tax. Elected officials and advocates said the proposed park, tentatively called Radebaugh Park, will bring open space to the densely populated area. The park would be in the Aigburth Manor neighborhood, which is currently without a park.
"We have been working hard to add additional open space for Towson residents, and this purchase will help us achieve that goal," Kamenetz said in a statement Nov. 2.
The County Council must approve the purchase before it is finalized. Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, said in a statement Wednesday that he supports the purchase of the parcel.
"I am pleased that after nearly two years of negotiation, Baltimore County has completed its negotiations with the Radebaugh family and the County Council will soon vote to approve the purchase of this property," Marks said.
The state also contributed $175,000 to help pay for the demolition of greenhouses on the property.
The business stopped using the greenhouses in the spring of 2015, Radebaugh said in September, adding that structures are from the 1940s or 1950s. The old buildings aren't as energy efficient as modern greenhouses, so the family decided to sell the land and add growing space to a company farm located in Freeland, Pa., near the Maryland state line.
That the space, which has been used for decades to grow plants, should become a park is fitting, Radebaugh said in September. The family was approached by several developers interested in purchasing the parcel, but those offers didn't feel right, Radebaugh said.
"It's always been a growing space," Radebaugh said in September. "A park was the ideal situation for us."
Beth Miller, a member of the Green Towson Alliance, an organization which advocates for opens space in Towson, said Nov. 2 she is delighted with the development. The park could be a place for people to walk and children to play, she said.