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05.30.12 County Decides to Purchase Belmont

May 30, 2012

Media Contact: Kevin Enright, Director, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

County Decides to Purchase Belmont

Ulman says “this was an opportunity we could not pass up”

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced that the County will exercise its right of first refusal and purchase Belmont, a National Historic Register property, from Howard Community College.

Surrounded by Patapsco State Park, Belmont consists of a manor home, a carriage house, a cottage, a large barn, tennis courts and a pool on 80 acres. This historic gem was built in 1738 by Caleb Dorsey, an early industrialist whose family farmed the land at Belmont and operated forges and iron furnaces along the Patapsco River near Elkridge.

“This has been a long process, but in the end, I simply could not allow Belmont, with all its historical, environmental and educational significance, to slip out of the public’s hands,” said County Executive Ulman.

Howard Community College purchased Belmont in 2004 for $5.2 million, including $2.6 million in County funds. Because of the purchase agreement signed at the time, the County is now able to acquire the entire 80-acre property for only $89,000.

Ulman announced that the County’s award-winning Recreation and Parks department will manage this spectacular property. Recreation and Parks Director John Byrd sees a variety of opportunities for the public to enjoy the Belmont property, “The cultural, historical and environmental possibilities at Belmont are amazing. We have some work to do, and we hope to bring all the stakeholders together as soon as possible to help us prioritize and begin developing the program and management plans for this spectacular property.”

Belmont has a long, rich history in Elkridge, and the County’s acquisition of this property will allow residents to experience first-hand the natural beauty and history of this estate, which looks much the same as it did when it was first built almost 300 years ago.

While no final decisions have been made, the County envisions the manor house as a location to be rented out for special events and parts of the property to be opened up for community meetings and gatherings that serve a public purpose. Additionally, educational programs, partnerships and other uses of Belmont will complement the County’s present system, the Robinson Nature Center and future environmental programming at Blandair Park.

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