Kamenetz unveils $4 million public/private funding plan for new Towson area recreation and open space
Baltimore Ravens, Caves Valley Partners and Recreation Councils will supplement County funds for turf fields
* *(Towson) – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz unveiled an exciting public/private funding plan to provide $4 million of additional recreation and open space in the Towson area. Utilizing generous contributions from the Baltimore Ravens, Caves Valley Partners, the Towson Recreation Council and Towsontown Recreation Council, the County will be able to fund two new turf fields. The County also intends to repurpose the existing concrete Patriot Plaza in front of the County Courts Building into an attractive passive park, complementing the renowned Historic Courthouse Gardens. Up to $800,000 in private funding would supplement $3.2 million of County funds, for a total of $4 million for improved open space needs.
"It is very gratifying to have the business and recreation communities join with County government to create more recreational opportunities for Towson families," said County Executive Kamenetz. "The contribution by both the Ravens and Caves Valley Partners shows once again why it is so important to have local businesses that invest in Baltimore County. I am also very appreciative of the support of both volunteer recreation councils that are making this project possible."
As part of their continuing community commitment to its home county, the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to contribute $200,000 for this effort. The Ravens headquarters, the Under Armour Performance Center, is located in Owings Mills. Towson-based Caves Valley Partners, developer of the Towson City Center and the pending Towson Row project, will also contribute $200,000. The Towson Recreation Council and Booster's Club had previously committed to contribute $200,000 toward a turf field at Towson High. And now, the Towsontown Recreation Council will contribute $150,000 toward a turf field at the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology. A request is also pending before the Carver Foundation.
The cost of each turf field is estimated at $800,000. Turf fields are preferable to grass fields because they provide year-round usage, unhindered by wet or muddy conditions or rejuvenation periods. Some rec councils report that turf fields allow for three times the usage of a grass field.
The Patriot Plaza project would involve removing the existing fountain and concrete pavers, adding green space and a park setting. The 40 year old fountain was shut down last year after persistent leaking into county office space that is sited underneath the fountain. The County expects to issue a Request for Proposal in the next sixty days, soliciting a range of creative options to better utilize the open space for all citizens, not just those entering into the courthouse. $1.6 million has been budgeted for the landscaping project, which will be supplemented with an additional $1.4 million for underground corrective maintenance.
"Last year, I was very impressed by the dedication and commitment of the Towson Rec Council and Booster's Club at Towson High School," said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. "Although Towson High had not been scheduled for a turf field, it was clear to me that both the high school and recreation programs would benefit greatly from this investment, and that is why I included those funds in last year's budget. At the same time, their generosity served as a model for others, and I am delighted that the Towsontowne Rec Council, the Ravens, and Caves Valley Partners stepped up to the plate. I am also excited about the opportunity to provide better open space opportunities in the heart of Towson in between the Historic Courthouse and the County Courts Building."
"While we play our games at M&T Bank Stadium, our year-round home is at the Under Armour Performance Center in Baltimore County," said Dick Cass, President of the Ravens. "We believe it is important to contribute to our neighborhood in as many ways as we can and we're excited to be part of this project through the County Executive's office. We see the value of having safe fields that can be used by youths throughout the year in all kinds of weather."
"With our corporate headquarters in Towson and the pending development of Towson Row, Caves Valley Partners is deeply committed to an exciting and vibrant Towson community where families can live, work and play," said Arthur H. Adler of Caves Valley Partners. "We are delighted to help make possible yet another turf in the Towson area. We are equally excited about the County's plans to provide additional green space in Patriot Plaza that will be an attraction for the entire region."
"Restoration of the Carver fields has long been the Towsontowne Recreation Council's highest capital priority, and the Council is willing to contribute significantly to the project's completion," stated John B. Ward, Jr., President of the Towsontowne Recreation Council. "Installation of turf at the site will be a positive step in addressing the Towson area's lack of recreational space."
"This is a wonderful example of what can happen when government, the community and business partners work together," said 5th District Councilman David Marks. "This announcement will significantly advance our goal of a Towson that has amenities for all families. I can't thank the Rec Councils, Ravens, and Caves Valley Partners enough for helping us create additional field space in Towson."