Anne Arundel County finalized the $3 million purchase of undeveloped Severn land that it plans to convert into a park and later make available for a new school. The County Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve the terms of the acquisition.
A feasibility study of the undeveloped property concluded the two parcels, totaling 30 acres, can be made into a park with athletic fields and walking trails and, down the road, could be the site of a secondary school for west county, which has experienced rapid population increases, officials say.
The land was sold by Millersville developer Ribera Development. The two parcels form an upside down T shape with the southern line abutting, but not including, Severn-Danza Park.
“This is extremely exciting for the Severn-Danza, District 2 and the beyond community,” said council member Allison Pickard, a Glen Burnie Democrat. “These parcels are extremely vital to growing recreation in the northwest part of the county. I can’t tell you how exciting this is. Not only are we able to expand a park with both active and hopefully passive recreation, but we’re also probably able to preserve some of that from residential development.”
Pickard said it took three or four years to prepare the purchase.
Council member Andrew Pruski, a Gambrills Democrat, added that, with the rapid growth of Fort Meade, the state’s largest employer, which is located in Pruski’s district, investments like this are necessary to accommodate the needs of a growing population.
Assessments anticipate there will be around 10,000 additional jobs at the fort by the end of this year, said council member Lisa Rodvien, an Annapolis Democrat.
“Any time we can purchase a future school site is a win for Anne Arundel County,” Pruski said. “This shouldn’t be the only property that we should be purchasing. We should continue in the next three to four years, as Anne Arundel County continues to grow, to find these sites and there’s not a lot of them left so, in my opinion, we need to make sure we continue to make these efforts.”
Severn Athletic Club Commissioner of Soccer Shaem Spencer said in a statement when the bill was introduced last month that this move will present recreational opportunities in an area that lacks wide-open spaces.
“I’m excited to see park space coming to this part of the county, offering more fields for the kids in our community. I’m a big proponent of youth athletics and youth sports, and this helps provide more space for our clubs to use,” Spencer said.