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Brochin: County Takes Towson Manor Park 'Off The Table'

Other county officials remain skeptical.

UPDATED (8:44 a.m.)—A controversial plan to build a new fire station in Towson on the site of Towson Manor Park could be off the table.

State Sen. Jim Brochin, a Towson Democrat, said county officials promised him Wednesday that they would seek an alternative site.

"It's absolutely off the table and is not going to be on the table," said Brochin.

The promise came from Yolanda Winkler, a lobbyist for the county, according to Brochin.

County officials could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he understands the opposition to the park site and that the county continues to search for a suitable location.

"Obviously we need a site for when we move forward," Kamenetz said of the park. He called Towson Manor Park "the site of last resort."

Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican whose district includes Towson, said he remains skeptical of promises that the park is off the table.

"I've had private discussions with the administration and I know they are working very hard on alternatives," Marks said. "I'll believe the park is off the table when the administration tells me in writing and until the administration tells me in writing I don't think [the park] is off the table."

Brochin said he has asked for the promise to be put in writing in the form of a county press release.

The senator, who lives in a community adjacent to Towson Manor Park, said the county should consider rebuilding the fire station on the current station's existing property.

"Why can't they just tell the developer 'Look, you're getting half of what you want' and keep the facility there?" Brochin said. "How come nobody is considering that?"

The reported promise to Brochin comes just a day before planned rally to save the park by Towson community activists.

The plan to build a new fire station on the park became public last week and is part of a plan by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to sell off three county-owned properties for redevelopment.

Proceeds of the sale of the current site of the Towson Fire Station, the North Point Government Center and a police substation in Randallstown would be used to rebuild new facilities. Any money left over would be used to install air conditioning in schools such as Dumbarton Middle School and provide other technological improvements to county schools.

Blue Alpha December 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Typical Jim Brochin - completely pandering for votes without any real solutions. I'm sure half of the fire site will bring enough money for half the air conditioning needed. Also, how do a fire department and a retail development share driveways to a traffic light and the myriad of other development issues on that site that would need to be shared? Brochin just wants issue press releases to tell people what they want to hear rather than actually working with the County on real solutions to problems.
Old Terp December 13, 2012 at 01:04 PM
What about site development issues for the new firehouse site, and a second site for a new salt dome site? Isn't that a boon for all the dirt contractors? At least the infrastructure for a station is already in place where it is. Who wants to develop a congested corner, w/ views of a jail and car dealers anyway?
Observation December 13, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Brochin is a shameless grandstander. He has no role in this process.
Get Real December 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I agree. Brochin will say or do anything to pander. Amazing how people vote for the guy.
Steve December 13, 2012 at 02:07 PM
"The promise came from Yolanda Winkler, a lobbyist for the county, according to Brochin." Okaaay. Lemme take that to the bank.
Raymond Saunders December 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Working for the good of the electorate = the job description of an elected official. Brochin is doing that.
Steve December 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Brochin doesn't have the witheral to be able to pick up the phone and call someone in the official chain of command and has to rely on lobbyists for his information??? Something isn't right there......
Raymond Saunders December 13, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The executive's office has been... evasive... on this issue. I have been emailing for 10 days, and have not gotten answers to my questions.
Dennis King December 13, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I would suspect that Blue Alpha, Observation and Get Real are either developers or members of the current or prior County Administrations, both of which are/were owned and operated by the developers. It wouldn't be the first time that members of the administration hid behind an alias to post comments on this site. Thank heavens for elected officials like Jim Brochin who look after the interests of local residents.
Tom Rollins December 13, 2012 at 04:02 PM
We can't let up now. Sounds like we're making progress but Jim Brochin's statement may be doing more harm than good....if everyone thinks the site is officially off the table, people may stop petitioning it. When in reality, it's still on there until we have an official written statement. Keep it up people!
Steve December 13, 2012 at 04:08 PM
"....both of which are/were owned and operated by the developers." Looks like Brochin gets a good portion of his cash from developers too. http://influenceexplorer.com/politician/id/a60223a30aa243bbb33af486c0db706a?cycle=-1
Tom Rollins December 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Yolanda Winkler was hired by Kamenetz in 2010 to be the Director of Government Affairs....ie Baltimore County's top lobbyist. Sounds like she's involved with the "Official Chain of Command."
Old Terp December 13, 2012 at 04:28 PM
He's a resident of Towson so that seems like enough of a "role".
Old Terp December 13, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I can't believe property values in historic East Towson or Towson Green have been helped by all the uncertainty and saber-rattling by KK. At least Brochin and Marks have offered reassurance to the community.
Robert Frisch December 13, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I do not know Mr. Brochin or live in the effected areas but the councilman does have a place and a voice in the process. He has a right to self interest because he lives in the community, he has constituents that look to him to express their views on such matters, and he must consider what is best for the entire county as new construction or major renovation of a firehouse will need to be supported with county issued bonds approved by the county council, which in long term costs will be paid for by all county taxpayers.
Kristen December 13, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Thank you Jim Brochin, for advocating for your constituents and standing up for our quality of life. We will not be bullied or placated by elected officials who think it is "creative" to bulldoze playgrounds.
JDStuts December 13, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Dear Kevin, Remember all that money you solicited from us last election? Time to play ball. Give us the York Road lot now and plow under that playground. You owe us. Signed, Concerned Developers of Towson
MMF December 18, 2012 at 03:30 AM
I want local senators and delegates in our area to sign a bill to stop the sell of the north point govt center and stop the relocation of 200 students at eastwood magnet center *my daughter being a student and myself being a concern parents with both of the options we are being given for our children* We just want our school to be left alone and they can use diamond point or the old ames or sams club on eastern avenue for a police station not eastwood magnet center!!!
Rich Foot December 18, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Unlike the cowards who hide behind fake names to shield their county-paid interests, my organization and I don't shy from being authentic and forthright about who we are and the truth that we stand for in Maryland. I'm talking about Foot's Forecast, a platform that has twice the number of likes as did NOT vote for Kamenetz. Want to play a numbers game? We have 65,000+ readers in Facebook across Maryland, and when there is a storm, 250,000 individuals in the state, and another 400,000 across the world. We're not opposed to advertising, for free, this cause. If I have to ask that army of 750,000+ to join this fight and put the law back into the hands of the people, I will. The County Council, the Executive and the Developers should be on notice that we will not let you subvert due process to achieve unethical objectives in plain sight, or behind closed doors. You have awakened the beast, and just like the weather in Maryland, we are relentless as many here probably already know. November 2014 might as well be tomorrow.

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