Southwest Baltimore County will get about $1.5 million in federal and local funds to improve housing, school and recreation facilities, and to maintain a stable population in its communities, Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III announced yesterday.
Mr. Ruppersberger delivered the news to members of the Southwest Leadership Team, an umbrella group of law enforcement, school, health and community workers who meet monthly at St. Clements Church in Lansdowne.
Mr. Ruppersberger said the area was getting the money because of impressive and sustained cooperation between the leadership group and the county government.
Almost half the money will go toward area parks. About $200,000 in block grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used on lighting for ball fields at Lansdowne Middle School, and $475,000 from the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks has been set aside to develop the South West Area Park near the Anne Arundel county line, property acquired in 1967.
Additionally, the county has set aside $225,000 that will enable the leadership group to build a new park -- a replacement for another tract of county land that is slated for a senior-citizen housing development under the auspices of Associated Catholic Charities.
Kevin Roddy, grants administrator with the county's Office of Community Conservation, said the county plans to lease a three-acre tract in the 4200 block of Hollins Ferry Road -- zoned as parkland, but hilly and deemed "user unfriendly" -- to Catholic Charities for $1 a year. The nonprofit organization will build an apartment complex for senior citizens with 60 one-bedroom units.
Next month, the county will make a $200,000 grant to the Southwest Leadership Team to acquire property to build another park on a same-size parcel at Fifth and Baltimore avenues in Lansdowne to replace the site leased to Catholic Charities.
"We're basically swapping one park for another," Mr. Roddy said.
An additional $100,000 in county money has been earmarked for design and landscape work on the park that could start next year.
And $291,000 from HUD's Home Investment Partnership Program has been set aside to continue a loan program designed to keep younger families in the area.
Although HUD loan programs also operate in Woodlawn, Dundalk, Essex-Middle River and Catonsville, Mr. Roddy said, "we're really trying to emphasize Lansdowne."
He said elderly people moving into the new retirement community probably will be vacating homes there.