At its annual meeting last night at the Roland Park Public School, the Roland Park Civic League  announced an initiative to buy 32 acres of land belonging to the Baltimore Country Club as part of an overall master plan for Roland Park. Civic League President Phil Spevak said he believed that the country club would be willing to sell the land, but did not name a price. Representatives of the Baltimore Country Club, present at the meeting, said they had not been contacted by Roland Park in over a year.

The neighborhood has long wanted to purchase the property, especially since an attempt by Keswick Multi-Care to buy the land for a retirement community was derailed in 2009 after opposition from Baltimore City as well as the neighborhood. If successful, the neighborhood would plan to run the property as a park.

At the same meeting, WYPR reporter and Homeland resident Anirban Basu spoke on the economic value of open spaces, pointing out that homes adjacent to parks had a 20 percent greater value, which could greatly impact property tax revenues. Mr. Basu cited additional studies showing health benefits for residents and increased tourism, as well as decreased crime, related to parks and green spaces in cities.

Implementation of the master plan would be the largest in a series of successful efforts by the Roland Park neighborhood, including the rebuilding of the library in 2007, and the newly completed renovation of the firehouse on Upland Road. Purchase of the Baltimore Country Club land is clearly the most important and expensive element of the master plan, which also includes preservation  of the Roland Park water tower, and improvements to the Stony Run land parcel.  Dr. Spevak pointed out that volunteers have “already been working quietly to put this together. It will require some sacrifice, and I am confident it will be rewarded.”