Boaters launched their vessels. Three men fished from the boardwalk, and one smiled after reeling in a yellow perch. Cliff Little waded in the water, taking a break from riding his personal watercraft.
"It's nice," the North Point man said of Wilson Point Park, the county's newest park. "The ramps are nice, and the water is a lot better than in most places."
Wilson Point Park, near Martin State Airport in Middle River, was formally opened yesterday. The $8.8 million project was designed to transform the former site of a run-down and crime-ridden apartment complex into a destination for fun.
"It's one of our most magnificent waterfront parks," said John D. Markley, deputy director of recreation and parks for the county.
The 25-acre park has a boardwalk along the shore, three picnic pavilions, a boat ramp and a floating dock. It also has an athletic field, a playground, restrooms and two parking areas, one specifically for boaters.
Robert Bendler, president of the Wilson Point Improvement Association, said the park will be well-used.
"It gives us open space and opportunities for recreation near the water," he said.
The park includes environmentally conscious features, such as water runoff areas, and handicapped-accessible features, such as a low-incline ramp leading to the playground.
The project was paid for with Maryland Program Open Space funds, state bonds, Federal Waterway Improvement/Fishing Restoration funds and Baltimore County government money.
Part of the park is on the site of the former Chesapeake Village, a dilapidated 252-unit apartment complex that was one of several razed in recent years as part of efforts to revitalize eastern Baltimore County.
Several years ago, community residents held public hearings to discuss ideas for a waterfront park.
To create the park, the county acquired and demolished several properties on the land, including the apartments, several shore shacks and a restaurant.
Baltimore County bought land for the park in 2000. Construction started in the spring of last year.
Though the county did not officially dedicate the park until yesterday, the boat ramp opened in July.