Special thanks to Barbara L. Hopkins, Executive Director of NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, who released the following statement and above photos from the group's Summer Solstice Celebration in Perry Hall, held on June 20.
NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, a non-profit land trust, held a Summer Solstice Celebration on Wednesday, June 20 at the home of Frank and Kathy Martin in Perry Hall. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the organization’s progress over the last year in planning, acquiring, improving and stewarding land for public open space within the County.
The organization installed new officers, with Marsha McLaughlin, a landscape architect who is the Director of Planning and Zoning for Howard County, and a resident of Lutherville, taking over as President.
Ms. McLaughlin highlighted several achievements, including the organization’s work with Councilmen Marks and Quirk on the Neighborhood Commons legislation passed by the Council this year. This legislation will make the task of identifying open space within the County’s
Urban Rural Demarcation Line, and acquiring complimentary land, much easier. She also commented on the National Park Service having elected to help NeighborSpace develop a strategic conservation plan, with an eye toward creating a model that can be used nationwide in inner suburban areas like the part of Baltimore County that lies within the URDL.
Ms. McLaughlin thanked Senator Klausmeier, who was in attendance, for her support of a State bond bill request advanced by County Executive Kamenetz, which will help with the improvement of existing parcels and the acquisition of new land. She also thanked the organization’s stewardship partners for their assistance in maintaining and improving land for public open space. Among those partners, Linda Holland, a member of the Greenbrier Garden Club in Towson, spoke briefly, noting that the NeighborSpace site in her neighborhood was treasured by those who live there and would not have come to pass without NeighborSpace having successfully approached Black and Decker about the donation of a conservation easement for the group’s memorial garden.
Councilmen Marks and Quirk were also present and offered brief remarks, with Councilman Marks underscoring bipartisan efforts targeting sustainability, including conservation of land for public open space and renewed efforts to both plan and implement bike and pedestrian thoroughfares, and Councilman Quirk urging that “smart growth is not smart if it isn’t balanced with the protection of open space.”
Funds raised at the event will support stewardship costs, such as monitoring and insurance, which average $1300 per property annually, and costs related to the organization’s planning effort with the National Park Service.
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