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.