Regester house sought for park


County Councilwoman Diane Evans and several community groups want to buy a two-story house on a third of an acre along the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail for a park and community center.

Ms. Evans is to ask the council next week to approve spending $205,000 for the Regester property in the first block of Holly Ave. Meanwhile, the Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal and Enhancement (ASPIRE) plans to raise $25,000 toward the purchase and improvement of the house along the hiker-biker trail with the help of other community groups.

The purchase would "bring together the heart of Severna Park," Ms. Evans said, and "give Severna Park a focal point."

It also would provide "kind of a town center for us, and we don't have anything like that," said Linda Zahn, executive of the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, which hopes to have an office in the building.

The property, near the old Severna Park railroad station, is across the street from Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church and the YMCA building that the church is buying. It is a block from the McKinsey Road site where church leaders plan to open a home for the elderly next year.

"We see this as a new gathering place," said Pat Troy, chairwoman of ASPIRE.

Her group plans to work with the chamber, the Greater Severna Park Council and county officials to create a park with public restrooms and water fountains on the land, where a 50-foot holly tree has flourished.

The two-bedroom house would be converted into meeting rooms and office space for community groups, and also could hold exhibits on the history of Severna Park, Ms. Troy said.

"Anybody who goes in the house can see the possibilities," she said.

Skip Carr, a longtime Severna Park resident and a real estate broker, said the property is historically significant to Severna Park because the house originally was the business office for Oscar Hatton, developer for the Severna Corp., the company that built Old Severna Park.

Mr. Hatton also was a justice of the peace and used a room of the house as a courtroom until he died, Mr. Carr said.

The house and Mr. Hatton's interest in the Severna Corp. were passed down to a nephew, Oliver Rund, who lived there with his wife, Ann, and his mother, Mr. Carr said.

After the deaths of her husband and mother-in-law, Ann Rund shut down the Severna Corp. but retained possession of the house until she died this year.

When relatives decided to sell the house, which is on commercially zoned property, community groups feared a piece of Severna Park's history would be bulldozed by a company interested in placing another business there and asked Ms. Evans for help.

The council is expected to vote on Ms. Evans' proposal Aug. 7.

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