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Plans to link Hugg-Thomas to Patapsco


SYKESVILLE -- The score is one bar down and one to go on Howard County's acquisition of property for a new park across the river from this South Carroll town.

Jeffrey A. Bourne, director of the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, showed the Sykesville Town Council plans for the 10-acre park area that will connect the Hugg-Thomas Wildlife Management Area and Patapsco State Park.

Last year, Howard County purchased the property at Susie's Bar, tore down the building and graded the land. The county now is negotiating to buy Duke's Place, a second bar next to Susie's.

Susie's was purchased for $225,000, largely with a flood management grant.

The remainder of the project is in Howard's five-year capital budget. Mr. Bourne hopes to complete property acquisition in another year, although there is no time frame for finishing the park itself.

"Right now the park is just a concept plan," he said. "It will be water access for the people to get to the river."

He noted that many people use the Patapsco River for kayaking and fishing in the spring.

Plans for the park call for a trail linking Hugg-Thomas and Patapsco State Park, picnic tables, a playground area and gazebo.

A second goal for the trail, besides linking Hugg-Thomas and the state park, would be to have it extended to Piney Run Park.

"We're planning a [1950's] period 'commons' style passive park," Mr. Bourne said.

Additionally, Howard County is negotiating with Bill Tisano, who owns Sunlite Manufacturing on an adjacent piece of land, for property to complete the park.

Several buildings, including an old apple butter factory, are on the Tisano property, which Howard wanted to buy. But Mr. Tisano is proposing instead a land exchange.

"He'll maintain the area away from the flood plain and in exchange be given a wedge-shaped piece of Hugg-Thomas," Mr. Bourne said. "It would just be a change of boundary off of the river flood plain."

In connection with the passive park, Mr. Tisano also is proposing an indoor recreation building aimed primarily at youth in both counties.

The project, Mr. Bourne said, is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when different jurisdictions work together.

The park especially has been a dream of Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr.

"I'd love to see the green space there," he said. "I think it would make a nice entrance to the town."

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