Howard County announced that an Agreement of Sale has been reached to acquire the Savage remainder property, a 4.8-acre parcel located to the west of Savage Mill, for $1.725 million. The county will preserve the property as open space and will use Program Open Space (POS) – state funding designated for outdoor recreation and open space areas for public use ― to complete this transaction.
Proposed development of the Savage remainder property has long been controversial, due to its environmental significance. It has been the target of proposed development since 2013, transitioning through iterations ranging from 15 units per acre to a maximum of 35 units. The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks will now preserve the property as open space available for use by the public.
“Promoting green infrastructure and continuing park improvements are priorities of my administration,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “We listened to and heard the concerns from the Savage community and will preserve this valuable green space that connects to Savage Park while contributing to the quality of life of all our residents. I’m also grateful for our District 13 representatives and our State Delegation for prioritizing Program Open Space funding, and the expansion of parkland in Howard County, which helped us bring this project into fruition.”
“Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we see the critical importance of providing open space for communities” said Councilwoman Christiana Rigby. “I am so grateful that county administration has worked with the Savage community to preserve this important ecological area in southeastern Howard County, and I look forward to future public use of the Savage remainder land.”
The property is designated by the state of Maryland as a Targeted Ecological Area, reserved for lands and watersheds of high ecological value that have been identified as conservation priorities. Additionally, the property is part of Howard County’s Green Infrastructure Network that connects ecologically valuable forests, wetlands, meadows, waterways and other natural areas.
“As we discussed the purchase of the Savage remainder property, we knew that we would need to respect the parcel’s ecological importance as much as possible.” stated Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. “After we complete the purchase, our next step will be to meet with the community to determine a shared vision for the parcel. This may include a pathway or other environmentally-sensitive improvements that would allow for passive recreation opportunities.”
“We are indebted to the widespread support for preserving this parcel from citizens and organizations on the local, state, and national level. But it is ultimately Dr. Ball’s recognition of the environmental and historic significance of this land which got us over the goal line. The Savage Community will be forever grateful,” said Susan Garber, Savage Community Advocate.
Following the execution of the Agreement of Sale, a number of conditions precedent will need to be met, including completion of the subdivision process, for the County to take ownership of the property.