Baltimore County to add 68 acres to Loch Raven- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Baltimore County to add 68 acres to Loch Raven

    I read an article the other day - Baltimore County will be buying The Hickey School (juvenile detention center) and converting it to open space, parks, softball fields, and trails. I've often thought this would be a great area to mountain bike, if only because it's directly across Cub Hill Rd from the reservoir, and the Gunpowder goes right through it.

    Let's see how it developes. Good news - it definitely won't be houses, etc. Just a new park!

  2. #2
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    Fu** Yeah! Where'd you here this?

  3. #3
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    This is good news. I've always wondered if there were any trails stashed back there.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
    Riding Bikes and Drinking Beer.

  4. #4

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    From The Baltimore Sun:

    Hickey land will be saved
    Part is to be in park, rest undeveloped, governor announces
    By Andrew A. Green
    Sun reporter
    Originally published January 3, 2006

    The land surrounding the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County will not be developed when the troubled juvenile justice facility shuts its doors, and at least a portion will become part of Gunpowder Falls State Park, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced yesterday.

    The decision was a second piece of welcome news for nearby residents whose longtime anxieties over runaways eased six months ago when Ehrlich announced that he would close the center - but were replaced with new concerns over what would become of the land.

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    Preserving the land will not only help prevent further crowding of nearby schools and roads but will also help protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, Ehrlich said. Nearly 70 acres of the property border the Gunpowder River and its tributaries, all of which drain into the bay.

    "You will no longer have to live with the nightmare Hickey had become, and we're going to clean up the bay, and that's a double-win for the citizens of eastern Baltimore County and the state of Maryland," Ehrlich said.

    Dozens of residents crowded into a building on the school's grounds yesterday to clap and cheer as Ehrlich made the announcement in the heart of his former congressional district and current GOP political base.

    "This is the best-case scenario," said Elaina Thomas, who lives a half-mile from the school and has been active in marshaling local opposition to development on the site.

    Ehrlich said yesterday that 68 acres of sloping, wooded land along the Gunpowder Falls and its tributaries will be incorporated into the Gunpowder Falls park, which abuts the facility. The rest, he said, could be used for ball fields, schools or other uses that benefit the community, he said.

    Before the 219-acre property can be transferred from the Department of Juvenile Services to the Department of Natural Resources, it must clear a series of bureaucratic hurdles. For example, other state or local agencies could try to snag part or all of the land, but officials called that a technicality.

    "We don't expect that to happen," said Planning Secretary Audrey E. Scott, who will manage the transfer.

    Even so, she said, it will take at least a month to complete the paperwork before the transfer can go before the Board of Public Works for approval. After that, community hearings to help the state decide what to do with the land will probably take another seven to 10 months, according to Natural Resources Secretary C. Ronald Franks.

    Dels. Joseph C. Boteler III and John W.E. Cluster Jr., Republicans who represent the area around Hickey, said they have received an "overwhelming" number of requests from residents to preserve the land in the six months since the state announced the closure.

    The Parkville-Carney-Perry Hall-Cub Hill area is in need of open space, and rapid development nearby has strained the infrastructure, Boteler said.

    "This is a great win for the community today," he said.

    Debbie West, a Cub Hill resident who attended the announcement, said she and many neighbors moved to the area because they wanted to live near nature, and that further development would destroy that balance. She said she has seen families of deer scampering from one front yard to another and doesn't want to see more clashes of nature and suburbia.

    "The animals need this as much as the people do," she said.

    The Hickey school has occupied the land for nearly 100 years, but Ehrlich ordered it closed last summer after persistent reports of unsafe and violent conditions. The school housed more than 250 youths at its peak, many of them serious repeat offenders.

    State and federal monitors, as well as advocates for youth, noted instances of abuse by guards, suicide attempts, escapes and other unsafe conditions in recent years.

    Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. said yesterday that the population at Hickey is down to 69 youths, about half of whom are waiting for placement in programs elsewhere in the state.

    The rest are part of Hickey's traditional population, and the state will have to build a new facility for them elsewhere before Hickey can be completely closed. The state has no timetable for that, Montague said.

    "We're spending an awful lot of time in the department now analyzing who these kids are and how can we develop a program to take these kids out of the system," Montague said. "We have to spend time if we're going to deal with the problem, and we're spending the time."

    Del. Bobby A. Zirkin, a Pikesville-Owings Mills Democrat who has been a leading advocate for juvenile justice reform in the legislature, said yesterday's good news obscures the need for a more solid administration proposal for handling troubled youths.

    "As a resident of Baltimore County, I'm all for more state parkland, of course," he said. "But the larger picture is the problem of what are you going to do with the kids who are there, and what are you going to do with the next generation of kids who would have gone to Hickey and now don't have a facility to go to?"

  5. #5
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    Hey, thanks alot Clyde.

    mordecai

  6. #6
    And if not, why not?
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    Sorry jumping in here

    I'm wondering if any one could tell me about the riding in your area. I'm thinking of taking a road trip next month. I'm looking for technical single track. Thanks

  7. #7

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    Guava - what area are you headed to? Loch Raven? Baltimore? Maryland?

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