Land in Savage that was once proposed as development is now being purchased by Howard County for conservation and open space.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Tuesday announced the $1.7 million purchase of nearly 5 acres of property from Savage Mill. The land, located west of Savage Mill, had been considered for development since 2013. Due to the area’s environmental significance, according to a county news release, development on the land has been “controversial.”
“Promoting green infrastructure and continuing park improvements are priorities of my administration,” Ball said in the release. “We listened to and heard the concerns from the Savage community, and will preserve this valuable green space that connects to Savage Park while contributing to the quality of life of all our residents.”
The 4.8-acre property is a “targeted ecological area,” a state designation for land and watersheds of ecological importance that should be a conservation priority. Once the purchase is finalized, the property will fall under Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks’ purview and will be open for public use.
“As we discussed the purchase of the Savage remainder property, we knew that we would need to respect the parcel’s ecological importance as much as possible,” Recreation and Parks Director Raul Delerme said in the release.
Delerme also said Tuesday that once the purchase is final, the county will meet with the community to discuss how to utilize the space.
“We’re going to look at it environmentally as well to see if there are any enhancements we can do,” Delerme said. “Also, there are some existing trails that tie into that parcel that we may continue those trails to connect to other areas.”
The county will use state funding from Program Open Space — designated for outdoor recreation and open space areas for public use in Maryland — to pay for the deal. In order for the county to own the land, it must go through the subdivision process, which Sameer Sidh, Ball’s chief of staff, said typically takes several months.
“This is something that has been at the top of the priority list for the Savage Community Association for close to seven years,” Sidh said. “We do listen to communities when they have significant priorities they put forth. In this case, it really made a lot of sense. For us to have the opportunity to use a state funding source to acquire this property is a good news story that we were able to work with the community to get this done.”