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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.

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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