It was almost deja vu. Tuesday, May 22 was the annual meeting of the
This time the civic league, however, was not opposing Keswick in its plan to purchase 17 acres of Baltimore Country Club land but honoring Bowerman for outstanding community service. Bowerman recently retired from Keswick after 13 years as chief executive officer of this longtime neighborhood institution
There was none of the previous acrimony between the league and BCC officials, only an announcement from Spevak and Michel that the community plans to raise $10 million to purchase the land, complete fundraising efforts for Stony Run and Roland
Ten million is a hefty sum. It is almost equal to all projects initiated by Roland Park in recent years: expansion of the Roland Park branch of the
For the 1,050 Roland Park households to raise that amount of money will take "personal sacrifice," Spevak said. And sacrifice we should.
It is a no-brainer that this pristine land should be preserved. The area is what it is because green space was an integral part of its original design. That is what the community fought for four years ago. It is what every person who protested the proposed Keswick purchase should work for now, dipping deep into our own pockets and helping those leading the fundraising to find other funding sources for land preservation.
To dedicate ourselves to raising $10 million is a matter of environmental stewardship. Area residents have the brainpower, connections and financial resources to raise this kind of money. This $10 million could actually make a long-lasting difference in air and water quality, not just in this neighborhood but also in adjacent neighborhoods and the city.
It is also a matter of preserving and enhancing the economic value of green space in the neighborhood and city. By Roland Park undertaking this effort, the community is again taking leadership in the city. Baltimore has many fine parks but it currently lacks resources and the priority to preserve and maintain them so that they become economic draws. Look what happened when
Green space is known to increase city property values and to attract residents. Roland Park now pays more than $12 million a year in property taxes, with a property tax base of $565 million. If open green space goes, surrounding properties will depreciate. Think of the difference in property values in Homeland around the Lakes and in Guilford around Sherwood Gardens. If I were a club member, I would want to continue looking out at a lush hillside, not institutional rooftops.
Cities like Philadelphia, Portland and Minneapolis are working to create more open space to enrich the quality of life, improve the environment, decrease crime and attract "the creative class," according to