Bentley Park in East Towson to break ground in September

Bentley Park in East Towson to break ground in September for "meditative" space.

Work on a new park in East Towson could begin as early as September, as NeighborSpace Baltimore County is now accepting bids from contractors for the .436-acre project.

Bentley Park, named for long-time East Towson advocate Adelaide Bentley, will be located off East Pennsylvania Avenue, bordered by Mount Calvary AME Church, Railroad Avenue and a parking lot for Stanley Black & Decker. The park will be a "meditation" garden, with various areas for sun-loving plants, shade-loving plants, woodland plants and native plants, a stone reflection circle and a labyrinth.

NeighborSpace works with communities to "protect and improves land for parks, gardens, trails and natural areas" inside the urban areas of Baltimore County's Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, its website states.

NeighborSpace purchased the half-acre parcel in 2009, and in 2013, the property was dedicated to Bentley, a longtime community leader who is credited with keeping developers from buying up homes and destroying this historic and mostly African-American neighborhood.

The neighborhood requested a "tranquil space" for the site, according to NeighborSpace Executive Director Barbara Hopkins.

"The community really wanted a quiet, meditative space," Hopkins said.

The request for proposals was released by NeighborSpace Aug.8. Bids are due Sept. 9.

A cost estimate isn't available for the project, as bids for construction haven't been submitted yet, Hopkins said. The park will use $20,000 in funds given as part of a Planned Unit Development agreement between the county and Towson Mews, a 34-townhome development being built nearby, according to Hopkins.

NeighborSpace worked with Morgan State University holding a contest among students to design the park. Students Abby Leonard and Ashley Jones created the winning final design with input from the community, Hopkins said.

The entrance to the park just off East Pennsylvania will be bordered by redbud trees, according to a design rendering posted on NeighborSpace Baltimore County's website. As visitors walk farther into the park, they'll see a "sunny wildlife perennial garden" with plants such as pink autumn joy flowers and purple coneflower, the website reports.

To the south of the sunny garden will be a shade garden, which will include red osier dogwood and red cardinal flower.

The southern-most portion of the property will include a woodland garden, stone reflection circle and labyrinth.

NeighborSpace thanked the East Towson Improvement Association and Baltimore County Councilman David Marks for bringing the project to fruition.

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