County Executive Reportedly Eyeing Alternate Locations for New Firehouse

The Towson Manor Park site, which was initially designated as the location for the new firehouse, remains under consideration.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will consider alternate sites for a new fire station after uproar over a plan floated to construct one at Towson Manor Park, community and government leaders said Friday. 

"I don't think the park is completely off the table," said David Marks, the county councilman representing Towson. "But [the county is] looking at other locations."

Some Towson residents said Tuesday that they were told of a plan involving the sale and redevelopment of the current Towson Fire Station at York and Bosley Roads. A new station was proposed for construction at the park, located on Towsontown Boulevard between East Towson and Towson Green.

Residents said that some funds from the sale of the existing station would go towards funding air conditioning at Dumbarton Middle School.

Marks, and representatives from the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations (GTCCA) and Towson Manor Village—which is adjacent to the park—joined the county executive for a private Friday morning meeting to discuss the project.

"I think it was a good meeting, a very conciliatory meeting," Marks said. "I think the community clearly wants to conserve the park, but many recognize that [the new fire station] is needed."

David Kosak, current president of GTCCA, said the umbrella group is standing with Towson Manor Village in its opposition to the proposal. Kosak said Kamenetz pledged to review other locations but as it currently stands, Towson Manor Park remains the target site.

"Open space and parks are scarce in Towson," Kosak said.

Kosak was appreciative that county officials met with the community leaders so all sides could discuss their perspectives.

"Up until [Friday], there's been a lot of speculation about what's going on," he sad. "It's important that we communicate better."

Incoming GTCCA President Paul Hartman said he plans to be open-minded and patient as the county reviews other sites, a process he said he was told could take up to three weeks.

"I'm disappointed that the park is still in play because it's an important part of the community," he said.

County officials declined to confirm the plan's existence. County spokesman Don Mohler said Tuesday that Kamenetz has been open about instructing his staff to look into uses for county-owned parcels in commercial corridors.

"The county is in the final stages of a comprehensive review and analysis of all county properties," said Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman. "We hope to be able to release the results of the study next week."

Ahead of the Friday meeting, Towson Manor Village held an emergency meeting Thursday evening to discuss the project. Community member Kristen Gerding said the meeting was heavily attended and her neighbors were shocked and outraged.

"This park is our community space, our pride and joy," Gerding wrote in a letter she sent to Marks. "It brings us together and gives us a reason to stay in Towson, to embrace living in a dense community where we have enviable amenities within walking distance."

Associate Regional Editor Bryan Sears contributed to this report.

Laurie TMV December 08, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I'm extremely disappointed to hear that TMV is still on the County Executive's list for possible sites for a new firehouse. No need for a new one has been demonstrated. nor any need for moving the current location. Were that so, I would think that at least one of the three county/state reps at Thursday night's emergency meeting of TMV would have shared the rationale behind it. None did, which speaks loads. Two of the representatives were dead set against the idea, dismissing any need. Not one resident attending the TMV emergency meeting agreed that there was any need at all for a new fire station. Several propositions were put forth, including removing the salt stored on the current fire house site at York and Bosley, if needs be (which has yet to be demonstrated), which would significantly expand usable area. Why is it stored there anyway? Some suggested that the firehouse could be renovated and expanded on its current site, again if there's a reason for doing so. Some suggested that underground space on the site could serve any need for additional space. There is more than enough space at the site, it just happens to be located on what some must consider to be "prime" commercial property. However, Senator Brochin said that not one concern had been voiced from the current firemen or staff at the Bosley firehouse concerning the "need" for new facilities. So, what's really going on, and don't we have the right to know?
Bart December 08, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Did anyone within GTTCA consider asking Riderwood Hills how they might think of this idea? Dumbarton Middle Improvements? No more Fire Trucks and Ambulances screaming through the neighborhood 24 hours per day? Hmmmmm? Just sayin'
cadmia December 08, 2012 at 06:47 AM
How can we get involved in the community association? We're new residents of Towson Green and would like to get involved.
Roger December 08, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Rule 1: it's always about the money. Our new county executive was heavily funded by developers. He then directed his staff to identify which of our precious county owned lands would better serve intensive private development. He says the sale at fair market value is needed to reduce our tax burden. It's for our own good. I think the Towson station is perfectly located and there is enough space for all the equipment they need. Plenty of urban fire stations have more equipment and respond to more calls than this station is projected to have on less land. Of course those are built for function and don't have meeting halls, parking lots, big fancy dorms, offices, weight rooms and kitchens. Maybe our executive could consider an austere urban design for a huge highly functional tech modern facility on this prime location that would serve us well for generations. Or is the fix in and the rush will be to sell off as much prime county real estate before the next election? When it doesn't seem right see rule #1.
Laurie TMV December 08, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Yes, Bart but the problem is that the country executive is attempting to play one neighborhood against another. No one asked anyone how they felt about this proposal. We found out about it. Dangle air conditioning to Dumbarton for throwing TMV under the bus, which has nothing to do with a firehouse. This is very dirty pool. The emergency meeting of TMV on Thursday night was extremely well attended, and some attending we're indeed from adjoining and surrounding neighborhoods. No one dissented that we were unwilling to pit ourselves against each other. The proposed site for the firehouse in TMV would pretty much slam into houses. I mean it would sit within only scant yards of people's homes. This isn't the case where it's sat for over 50 years. It would take our only park and greenspace from us. We fought for decades for this space. One resident took a loss on the sale of the property, so that we could have a green space, not to subsidize a county executive's desire to sell off lots of properties under extremely dubious circumstances. TMV is also a corridor for emergency vehicles making their way to St Joe's and GBMC. But we cannot be pitted against one another.
Paul Hartman December 09, 2012 at 01:52 AM
I believe that Towson Green is part of Towson Manor Village Community Association. www.towsonmanorvillage.org
Ed December 09, 2012 at 04:17 AM
@cadmia - send an email to ed@towsonmanorvillage.org and we'll get you membership info. Thanks - and welcome to the neighborhood!
DAN December 09, 2012 at 06:03 PM
A community park or greenspace should be off the table...period! All Baltimore County residents should be wary of this precedent setting attempt to redevelop prime real estate at the expense of neighborhood open space. Ideas floated to sell county-owned parcels in commercial corridors should be met with suspicion.
Frodo Baggins December 10, 2012 at 05:38 PM
This has nothing to do with KK and everything to do with Arnold Jablon. He's the second brain in command after Homan, and I don't see enough of his name taking the blame on this site. KK doesn't make any decisions. I'm glad to see the community holding Jablon's feet to the fire for all of his poor decisions.
Old Terp December 10, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Agree leave it where it is.
Old Terp December 10, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Like 301 Washington Ave that might be a place for a station? Oh wait, that old Parks and Rec bldg got auctioned off last year because the county had no use for it. http://towson.patch.com/d/articles/county-auction
Roger December 10, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Oh yes KK is the executive and Joblin is one of his behind the scenes guys. Look up his résumé. And see who funded the nasty election that was desperate to make sure KK won. Follow the money.
K Blue December 11, 2012 at 08:20 PM
The County should take a hard look at properties on Ware Avenue. The Revenue Authority owns numerous parcels, and with the creation of a new underground parking facility for the Towson Square complex, a parking facility wont be necessary. Additionally, there are some private property owners and tax-exempt properties on Ware which should be closely examined. Ware Avenue is a lot closer to the location of the original Towson Firehouse as well as its present location. The proposed location at Towson Manor Park just doesnt make any sense.


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