You may be aware that we live in a County with a unique tradition of land conservation. Over 40 years ago, County officials created a growth boundary (the Urban Rural Demarcation Line (URDL)), shown in the map at left, so as to protect our rural heritage. Since then, little public water or sewer infrastructure has been constructed beyond it and 90% of the County’s 805,000 residents now live within the URDL on one-third of the County’s total land area.
What makes this density livable? Open space - like the land we recently protected in the Greenbrier neighborhood in Towson. At just 1,300 square feet, the Greenbrier Memorial Garden is hardly an expansive space; and, yet, it is huge in many other ways. It is a testament to a neighborhood that has cultivated a community spirit through gardening almost since its inception over 60 years ago.
Like many neighborhoods near the beltway, Greenbrier is an older, inner suburb, with brick cape cods and bungalows dating to the middle of the 20th century.
Early in its history, Greenbrier had a number of residents with a passion for gardening who formed a club and began to cultivate a small plot at the intersection of
Greenbrier Road and Stevenson Lane. As time and club members passed on, the garden took on importance as a place to memorialize their passing. There was just one problem – no one was certain who owned the garden site - and that’s where our work as a non-profit land trust began.
We did some digging and learned that the land was owned by Black and Decker, whose property forms the downhill backdrop of the neighborhood. We approached the company about donating an easement and Black and Decker not only agreed to our request, but, also, moved its chain link fence to increase the garden’s size. With the help of NeighborSpace and many others, the Garden Club renovated and rededicated the Memorial Garden in 2009.
Greenbrier’s story shows the important role that open space can play in sustaining true communities within our densely populated inner suburbs. Nearly all of these areas were developed before there were open space requirements, meaning places like the Greenbrier Memorial Garden are at a premium. This fact, and projections for population growth within the URDL, also lend a sense of urgency to our conservation efforts, a call to action that is reinforced by this December 6 article from the Catonsville Times.
As you might expect, preservation of open space costs money and we are hoping you will help. A gift of $25 pays for one month of liability insurance for one property, $50 supports the planting of 5 trees, and $100 pays for about 25% of the non-capital costs we incur in a typical real estate settlement. In addition, right now, a gift of any amount will make you a member, a benefit that includes two print and two e-mail newsletters annually, along with invitations to our special events.
To donate online, click here. You may also mail a check payable to NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, Inc. to P.O. Box 6715, Towson, MD 21285. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Thank you for your support!