Harford finally moving ahead with Rock Glenn Park project in Aberdeen

Harford County officials plan to seek bids this fall for the engineering phase of the development of Rock Glenn Park at this site in Aberdeen, the county's parks and recreation director recently told city leaders.
Harford County officials plan to seek bids this fall for the engineering phase of the development of Rock Glenn Park at this site in Aberdeen, the county's parks and recreation director recently told city leaders.(David Anderson/The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Harford County plans to proceed with the engineering phase of the development of Rock Glenn Park in Aberdeen this year, nearly five years after the county acquired the property from a group of local developers.

The county has allocated $100,000 for engineering in its fiscal 2019 capital budget, and construction is expected to start in fiscal 2020, Parks & Recreation Director Kathy Burley said in providing an update on the project to the Aberdeen City Council on July 9.


The engineering work should be put out for bid this fall, Burley said.

She presented a concept plan from 2013 that calls for grass multi-purpose sports fields, although the end product “could look very different,” as county leaders and engineers seek public input.

“This is all we have at this point,” Burley said of the concept plan.

She said there could be a walking trail, with points set up for access for people with disabilities, similar to other county parks. There have also been discussions with community members about erecting a storage building for the Aberdeen Board of Parks and Recreation.

Leaks in three of the four temporary storage containers being used by Aberdeen Parks and Recreation have “lit a fire” in Aberdeen to find a permanent facility, the mayor said this week.

The Aberdeen recreation board, which oversees multiple community recreation programs for youths and adults, is headquartered at the Havre de Grace Activity Center on Lewis Lane, since its headquarters in the former Aberdeen High School on Route 40 suffered water damage from a leak in the building in early 2015.

The organization suffered another setback in February when three of its four equipment storage containers in North Deen Park leaked, causing an estimated $26,000 in damage to equipment, according to parks and recreation officials.

Councilman Tim Lindecamp asked Burley if a building with offices for the parks and recreation council, as well as storage, has been considered.

Burley said a storage building alone could cost $100,000 to $150,000, and a building with bathrooms, public meeting spaces and handicap-accessible facilities could cost $350,000 to $400,000.


“Is it out of the question, not necessarily,” Burley said. “We’re still open to input, but it will completely drive the price up on that.”

The county acquired the 21-acre site, which is along Rock Glenn Boulevard across from Medline Industries, in the fall of 2013, and it conveyed the land to the City of Aberdeen in fiscal 2014.

About $2.4 million in county, state and city funds was spent to acquire the site from DDB LCC in 2013. The county had budgeted more than $1.4 million in engineering and construction through fiscal 2024, according to this year’s capital budget.

Residents of the Aberdeen area are set to get new athletic fields after the county purchased a 21-acre site several months ago.

At the time of the acquisition, principals in DDB LCC were listed in public documents and confirmed by one of the group’s members as Dr. Richard Streett Jr., Robert Hockaday and William H. Cox Jr. The group had previously planned to develop the site for towhouses.

The city would be responsible for day-to-day maintenance costs once construction is complete, Burley said. The county would work with the city on maintaining baseball fields, since it has “specialized equipment” to do that, plus it would partner with the city on further developments at the park, such as a playground, Burley said.

Mayor Patrick McGrady asked how the Rock Glenn Park site was chosen. He noted the property, which is in an area annexed by the city and accessible via Route 40 and Robin Hood Road, could only be accessed by car for most users, except those who live in the nearby Rock Glenn community.


McGrady said having facilities in proximity to most youths who play sports is “close to our hearts.”

Burley was not with the county when the site was purchased under the administration of former County Executive David Craig, who was in office from 2005 to 2014. She noted that city leaders and Aberdeen parks and recreation leaders have been asking for the development of the Rock Glenn site for the past three to four years, though.

“I can tell you there has been a push from the Aberdeen community for us to develop this property,” she said.

She encouraged the mayor to talk with the administration of Harford County Executive Barry Glassman if the city wants to develop a park in a more centralized part of Aberdeen — a suggestion which McGrady put forth at the meeting — since development of Rock Glenn is already in the county’s budget.

Medline Industries, a national manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies whose building is across the street from the park site, announced last December that it planned to leave Aberdeen for a larger building in Perryville.