I wanted to reiterate my support for the Six Bridges Trail project. As a candidate for House of Delegates, I would do everything possible to support projects like Six Bridges that benefit Towson while protecting our natural environment.
Six Bridges is a shining example of grassroots community leadership. By leveraging Maryland’s longstanding commitment to restore the Chesapeake Bay, we can also create valuable green amenities at a relatively low cost to taxpayers.
This is why Six Bridges is a template for smart public policy that should be replicated across the state, a high benefit/ low cost project that will drive a virtuous cycle of environmental protection, community improvements, and increased property values. This virtuous cycle works like this:
- Protect the Bay
Reducing the flow of nutrients into the bay requires more land adjacent to streams that can absorb runoff. The impetus for this project was the acquisition of homes that were built too near to Herring Run.
- Create a Valuable Green Amenity for Towson’s Neighborhoods
Imagine the benefits of a trail system bringing the neighborhoods east of York Road together, connecting Radebaugh Park in Towson to Overlook Park, and Stoneleigh School with Towson High. Along this 3 mile trail there would be native vegetation, pocket parks with playground equipment, and natural alcoves curated by community members.
- Increase Property Values in Communities Near Trail
The benefits of a trail system will be more broadly shared than would be the case with a central park. Homes with direct access to the trails will see significant increase in property values, but hundreds of homes within easy walking distance will also become more attractive.
- Expand Resources Available to Protect the Bay
Increased property values will further efforts to protect the Bay. The public value of the trail offsets the cost of environmental remediation. The success of Six Bridges will encourage other upstream communities to pursue similar projects.
Creating Green Amenities at a Low Cost to Taxpayers
Policymakers have to consider the costs along with the benefits. The cost of acquiring landis usually the most significant cost of a new park. But land located near streams that is prone to flooding or undevelopable is the lowest cost land in a given area.
This low-cost dynamic makes projects like Six Bridges a great deal for taxpayers. are worth pursuing even without the clear environmental benefits they bring.
A Long-Term Vision: Towson to the Chesapeake Bay
From Radebaugh Park, Herring Run extends another mile to Overlook Park, and then another 10 miles to the Back River.
Imagine travelling from Towson to the Chesapeake Bay along a natural trail. When you look at the map, you realize this is not a pipe dream. Approximately 90% of Herring Run’s course is already publicly owned. Multiple spurs could connect other parks, streams, and trail systems. Six Bridges could be the beginning transformative project, not just for Towson but for a broad swathe of Baltimore.
We Need to Move Forward Now on Six Bridges
Grand visions should not detract from immediate action. Baltimore County should move forward with the proposed Six Bridges Trail project between Stevenson Lane and Radebaugh Park immediately. The most expensive element, the purchase and teardown of five houses in the flood zone at Stevenson Lane is already done. Now, we need to commit finishing the project and realizing the full value for the residents of East Towson. .
As a State Delegate I will prioritize the success of Six Bridges, and seek to replicate this innovative concept throughout the state.
Stephen A McIntire, Candidate for House of Delegates, LD 42A