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Turning that “Spooky House” into a Park – What Do You All Think?

Spooky house - 9909 Baltimore Avenue

Spooky house at the corner – 9909 Baltimore Avenue

9909 – Baltimore Avenue. This is the property at the north east corner of the Edgewood Road and Route 1. Many of you call this property “the spooky house at the corner”

For a good reason…

The property has been on the market for a while and has been a big eyesore. It’s sitting at the entrance of our neighborhood and the City itself and it gives such a bad impression for everyone who visits the city and in particular our neighborhood.

The owner of the property has tried to market this to a few businesses in the past so that it can get investments and redevelop completely. Unfortunately, so far he has failed to attract any business to this property.

The other option was to renovate the existing building and lease it to other businesses. According to the owner, this is also not a possibility as it is extremely cost prohibitive. The house is completely run-down and it will cost him a fortune to do a complete make-over.

The most feasible option is selling to hartford cash buyers company. They are well-known to buy houses fast.

In addition to this, there has been also some opposition from the nearby residents who don’t want to see large development coming to this place.

Amid all these uncertainties, here comes a proposal. The City has some unused Program Open Space (POS) fund that we think can be used to purchase the property and turn it into some sort of public facility, such as a park. This POS fund is a State managed fund and is sitting in a reserve account which can only be used if we can show the State a viable public project (such as a park).

Due to the sequestration and government cut back, there is a possibility that the State may change their policy to give POS funds to municipalities, in which case, we may lose this fund altogether.

Just to be clear, this is only a proposal at this stage. If we see a strong support for the project from our residents, we will take the proposal to the City Council and move further.

The NCPCA (North College Park Civic Association) will be holding a special meeting next Thursday (July 11) at 7:30pm about this property. Please come to that meeting and let me know what you think.

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11 Comments to “Turning that “Spooky House” into a Park – What Do You All Think?”

  1. By Clay Gump, July 3, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    I think some kind of gateway park linking it with the park going next door is a great idea.

  2. By harry, July 3, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

    That is a perhaps the best idea for that site. Knock down that eyesore and turn the location into an area that the community can actually enjoy.

  3. By anon, July 3, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    Twin gateway parks to welcome people to Hollywood would be great. Maybe a basketball court? A community gazebo or even a pool would be fantastic additions. That house looks terrible and is a complete eyesore. Anything that doesn’t look like a haunted mansion would be a great improvement.

  4. By bekah, July 4, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I really like the idea of a gateway park, I don’t think the park in the proposal that you posted a while ago needs all the bells and whistles. That lot’s next to route 1 – the noise, traffic, and pollution will make it not as enjoyable as the other interior parks. I think instead it should be a nice patch of green with a sign welcoming folks to our city and neighborhood, but perhaps leave it at that. Some benches and maybe a rain garden will probably do. The proposal park indeed looks very nice, but maybe for somewhere else.

  5. By Joe Smith, July 8, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

    I made this suggestion years ago, when the discussions about the “park in the hole” first started. The park that Bekah visualizes in her post is the way to go. I don’t any other viable possibility for this space.

  6. By Rosemary Perticari, July 8, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

    How about a community vegetable garden? It could be enclosed with a high fence with nice evergreen trees and other landscaping around the perimeter to hide it. Install a watering system. Measure off some plots. Charge an annual membership fee. Make some basic rules. Find a volunteer coordinator among the members who join. Have a lock on the gate like the dog park has so only members can enter. Excess produce can be sold at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market for the maintenance of the garden. Make a few parking spaces. I’m sure there are some models for this.

  7. By pat, July 8, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

    The spooky house is actually on a large piece of property that would be great for a park. Perhaps develop that site as a larger park, and the already-acquired property across the street could just be used as a nicely landscaped space with a large “Welcome to College Park” sign – maybe an electronic one with community news, etc?

    I could see several nice amenities at the spooky house site… Pavilion with BBQ grills and maybe a fireplace? Playground for the kids? Maybe see if the county or state could put up some concrete noise abatement by the Beltway on-ramp?

  8. By Scooter Conrad, July 8, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

    I like the idea of signage, “Welcome to North College Park”.
    Get rid of the rubbish, including the house and put in low, easy maintenance slow growing shrubbery or better yet an “empty” lot of grass.
    Restoration is a ridiculous idea. Its a dangerous dump!
    To be Silly: Squatters could probably do a better job of cleaning the house up, if it had any utilities, which I assume have been long gone removed.

    If the owner got rid of that eyesore house. he might be able to sell the property.
    Purchasers probably can’t envision anything with that building standing in the way of possibilities.

    Why waste City money? If the Counsel has no ideas on the property usage, what’s the point? It will eventually fall down or be consumed by fire. Either way, it will cost money for someone, most probably the City AND the property owner.

  9. By Fazlul Kabir, July 8, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    Hi Scooter,

    Thanks a lot for your comments. The City will not “waste” any of its own money to purchase the property. The money will come from a 100% State grant called Program Open Space (POS) acquisition fund.

    The City has only a few options on what to do with this property once it buys it, as the POS acquisition fund can only be used to turn the property into an “Open public space”, such as a park or a garden, as many here are suggesting. That development will take place in the next phase and a separate fund or funds, such as the Program Open Space (POS) development fund could be used. The POS development fund however requires 25% of City’s match of the total cost of development.

    Thanks again.

  10. By Barbara J. Sutcliffe, October 19, 2014 @ 9:14 am

    I believe putting a park there would be a good idea except it has to be fenced in because of it’s closeness to the beltway (dangerous for young children). I’m against anymore student condos along U.S. 1. I hardly recognize College Park because of this. Also, it’s sad that the poor old house couldn’t be renovated.

  11. By Kennis Termini, October 20, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

    Fence it off and divide it and make it a dog park with a spigot for running water with a few bench seats.