Thursday, March 22, 2007

County Gets 547 Acre Preserve

Chalk up another score for John Leopold. He has again shown himself willing to go where the Owens' administration feared to tread. Not only has the County picked up 547 acres of the former Crownsville Hospital site from the State for free, adding to the contiguous greenway from the Patuxent Research Refuge to Waterworks Park in Annnapolis, Leopold is also in negotiations with the State to amortize the cost of remediating the remaining 100+ acres.

The previous administration, frightened away by the $25 million price tag to clean up the environmental issues looming in the antiquated hospital buildings, refused to pursue the property. Leopold's response, "The costs are there, but if we plan for the property in a measured, responsive way, we can handle those costs over time... It's important that the county hold the reins of controlling its destiny rather than leave that control at the whim of state decision-makers." I certainly agree with that sentiment, as long as he keeps Dennis Callahan away from it.

The preserve will likely be opened to passive recreation, such as hiking and bird watching, and the administration is working with DNR to allow some hunting on the property.

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