Olszewski Announces Key Appointments to County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced the following major personnel appointments:

· Horacio Tablada, former secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), has been named Director of the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), effective July 31. Mr. Tablada will succeed current Director David Lykens who will be retiring from Baltimore County government.

· Marcus L. Wang, Esq. has been named Director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD), effective July 31.

Mr. Tablada will be the first Hispanic-American leader of a Baltimore County department.

Mr. Wang will be the first Asian-American leader of a Baltimore County department.

“Mr. Tablada’s experience in environmental leadership along with his demonstrated commitment to public health and ecological stewardship make him the right person to lead the department at this critical time,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

“I look forward to our work together as we continue to tackle the effects of climate change and further strengthen environmental resiliency, keeping Baltimore County healthy and thriving for our future generations.”

Horacio Tablada most recently served as MDE Secretary under Governor Hogan and brings over three decades of experience as an environmental leader in Maryland, including spearheading the environmental redevelopment efforts at the former steel mill site in Sparrows Point.

A Nicaraguan native, Tablada has served in numerous environmental regulatory management positions in Maryland, including serving as director of the Department of the Environment’s Land Management Administration, overseeing brownfield redevelopment of former industrial sites, recycling and waste diversion, lead paint poisoning prevention, and more.

Mr. Tablada holds a bachelor’s degree in biological agricultural engineering from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland, and earned a Master of Divinity from Capital Seminary and Graduate School.

“I want to thank County Executive Olszewski for his confidence in me to lead the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability,” said Tablada.

“I look forward to serving the people of Baltimore County and working with this talented team to promote science-based policies and implementing sustainable solutions.”

Mr. Lykens will be retiring from Baltimore County after over 35 years of service. He first joined Baltimore County government in 1987 — the year the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability was established — and worked his way through the ranks, starting as a pollution control analyst and culminating in his appointment as director in December 2018.

Under his leadership, the department has made considerable progress in promoting environmental sustainability, including launching Operation ReTree, an innovative equity-based tree planting initiative to expand tree canopies in older high-density, lower-income neighborhoods and joint efforts with the state of Maryland to address a decades-long problem to reduce the nuisance midge population along Back River.

“Dave has been an invaluable member of our team to help build a better Baltimore County,” Olszewski said.

“On behalf of the people of Baltimore County, I extend my gratitude for his decades of dedicated service and I wish him and his entire family the best in his well-deserved retirement from County service.”

“It has been an honor to serve the residents of Baltimore County for more than 30 years and I am incredibly proud of all our efforts to promote cleaner, more sustainable communities,” said Director Lykens.

“I thank County Executive Olszewski for this opportunity and have the fullest confidence that our hardworking team will continue to effectively serve our residents for years to come.”

Marcus Wang joins Baltimore County Government after most recently serving as CEO and Co-Founder of the Baltimore County-based ZytoGen Global Genetics Institute. He brings extensive international business and legal experience in building startups to profitability and in expanding public companies globally.

He has powered companies to success in diverse sectors ranging from biotech and genomics to retail and e-commerce, in both the U.S., where he practiced corporate law for DLA Piper in Manhattan, as well as China, where he spearheaded the development, execution, and launch of Under Armour’s China market entry.

Mr. Wang has also served as the Chair of the Baltimore County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2020, where he has advised the Olszewski administration on strategies for attraction and retention of businesses, best practices for public-private partnerships, and long-term economic development strategies. He also serves as a Commissioner on the Maryland Health Care Commission.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Wang earned an A.B. cum laude from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Dr. Jennifer Lynch, who has served as Acting Director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, will return to her position as Baltimore County’s Senior Policy Advisor for Education and Workforce.

“Mr. Wang’s knowledge of the breadth of economic opportunities and assets that Baltimore County has to offer, coupled with our shared priority of attracting new businesses, developing strategic partnerships, and creating and retaining high-quality jobs for our residents, make him a natural fit for this position,” said Olszewski.

“I am confident that with his leadership and advocacy, we will continue building a better Baltimore County for our most important asset: our people.”

“I am honored to be called to public service and to join this great team,” said Marcus Wang. “I want to thank the County Executive for his leadership and his trust, and I pledge to always be a strong advocate for the residents, workers, and businesses of our great County.”

The nominations of Mr. Tablada and Mr. Wang will be subject to confirmation by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the County Council.

County Releases Dashboard for Food Facility Inspections

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced the county has released a new data dashboard displaying information regarding recent Baltimore County Department of Health food facility inspections.

This new dashboard expands the Olszewski administration’s unprecedented efforts to provide more information to the public and increase government transparency.
“Every resident deserves the ability to access critical information about their communities and this is new tool is yet another way we are making information available,” Olszewski said. “Thanks to our BCSTAT data team, as well as the Baltimore County Department of Health, for creating this new tool that expands our administration’s work to provide more accessible and open government.”
 “Our Environmental Health Services unit provides licensing, oversight and monitoring to more that 3,500 food service facilities across Baltimore County,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Baltimore County Health Officer and Director of Health and Human Services. “Working in conjunction with these facilities helps to ensure the safety and well-being of their customers and their employees.”
The Food Establishment Closure Dashboard displays establishments that have experienced closure due to a critical violation discovered during an inspection that could not be corrected immediately.
Public data such as the establishment name, date of closure(s), reason for closure(s), and reopen date(s) will be available by selecting an establishment from the map or list.
Restaurants that have experienced recent closures are differentiated by color.
The list of critical violations that would result in closure includes:
• Food items obtained from an unapproved source or using an unapproved process
• Spoilage and/or contamination of food
• Pest infestation
• Employee(s) working while ill
• Not properly washing hands
• Not cooling products properly or not approved to cool products
• Cold foods held at improper temperatures and/or insufficient refrigeration
• Hot foods held at improper temperatures and/or insufficient hot holding equipment
• Food(s) not cooked to proper temperature(s)
• Food(s) not reheated to proper temperature(s) or not approved to reheat products
• Unapproved water supply or positive bacteriological result
• Insufficient hot and cold running water
• Sewage backup or overflow
Data will be displayed for one year on a rolling basis. Restaurants with no health-related closure events during this time will not be shown.
The Food Establishment Closure dashboard is expected to be updated daily.
This latest dashboard joins Baltimore County’s growing set of resources that provide unprecedented transparency for residents and reflect Olszewski’s commitment to a more open and accountable government. Prior efforts include:
• Launching BCSTAT, Baltimore County’s first data-driven performance management program that aims to improve performance, ensure data quality, enhance transparency and increase accountability across government.
• Releasing the Baltimore County Open Budget platform to empower residents to explore the County’s budget in an online, easily understood format.
• Expanding Open Budget to include the Open Checkbook tool, which allows users to view County expenditures down to the individual check level.
• Creating a dashboard displaying detailed information about fatal and nonfatal opioid overdose incidents occurring in Baltimore County.
• Providing a number of downloadable raw data sets related to numerous government functions and services.
The Food Establishment Closure Dashboard is available.

County to Establish “New Americans” Task Force

In acknowledgement of the growing number of residents who are immigrants and their substantial contributions to Baltimore County, County Executive Johnny Olszewski this week issued an executive order establishing a New Americans Task Force.

The new Task Force will guide County government as it seeks to build and maintain positive relationships with members of the immigrant community, and share research on policies, practices, and services that impact immigrant health, well-being, economic success and safety.

“Baltimore County’s greatest strength is its diversity, and we believe that all people – including those who are new to the country – should feel welcomed, included and valued,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “This task force’s work will highlight our commitment to supporting the immigrant community and strengthen and coordinate efforts countywide to better assure the successful integration of our New American neighbors.”

The Task Force is charged with developing an integration and inclusion strategic plan that builds upon the strengths of immigrants, their families, and their institutions, and expedites their journey towards integration and inclusion. The plan will further efforts to make Baltimore County a place of welcome, economic opportunity, community well-being, and inclusion.

The diverse group, chaired by Helany Sinkler, Diversity Acquisition Program Manager at T. Rowe Price, includes stakeholders from nonprofit organizations, private partners, foundations, financial institutions and County agencies serving New Americans. Members include:

  • Maricruz Abarca, Latino Providers Network
  • Richard Amador, Healthcare Access Maryland
  • Laura Brown, Asylee Women Enterprise
  • Alejandra Balcazar, Towson University
  • Susana Barrios, Latino Racial Justice Circle
  • Matthew Bernardy, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Ramona Carter-Brown, Baltimore County Human Relations
  • Zainab Chaundry, Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Truphena M. Choti, AfriThrive
  • Mary Clay, Baltimore County Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Alejandra Flores Miller, Centro Sol, JHU School of Medicine
  • Nidia Gentry, Baltimore County Department of Health
  • Tasha Gresham James, Dundalk Renaissance
  • Monica Guerrero Vazquez, Centro Sol
  • Jennifer Hernandez, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Annette Karanja, Haki Zetu
  • Cindy Kolade, CASA
  • Rachele J. Lawton, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Della Leister, Baltimore County Department of Health
  • Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • Major Orlando Lilly, Baltimore County Police Department
  • John Mason, Baltimore County Department of Economic Development
  • Cassandra Miller, Baltimore County Public Library
  • Abdun Nafey Matin, ICNA Relief
  • Bella Owens, TurnAround, Inc.
  • Laure Pepper Covert, World Relief
  • Edwin Perez, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Mitch Posner, Community Assistance Network
  • Javier Riva, Latino Economic Development Center
  • Valerie Rivera, Esperanza Center
  • Catalina Rodriguez-Lima, Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Nan Ross, International Rescue Committee
  • Alfredo Santiago, Peace and Strength Counseling
  • Cate H. Scenna, Esq., Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
  • Pat Shannon Jones, Immigration Outreach Service Center
  • Helany Sinkler, T. Rowe Price (Chair)
  • Tim Suryodaya Timsina, BANA
  • Betty Symington, ERICA

During its tenure, the ask Force will organize focus groups in each councilmanic district; facilitate a community survey in the County’s five most commonly spoken languages; identify and analyze barriers facing immigrants and their efforts and make recommendations to address those barriers.

“New Americans are here to have a better life and while they are extremely resilient, they have barriers to accessing services many of us take for granted,” said Baltimore County Immigration Affairs Outreach Coordinator Giuliana Valencia-Banks. “The New Americans Task Force’s work will support the efforts of this administration to make Baltimore County a place of welcome, economic opportunity, and inclusion. We are taking a comprehensive, community-driven approach to New American inclusion.”

The first meeting of the Baltimore County New Americans Task Force will be held via WebEx on Monday, June 12 at 6 p.m. A schedule for future meetings will be available at the work group’s webpage.

The Baltimore County New Americans Task Force will submit a report to the County Executive and the County Council by March 31, 2024.

For questions or more information about the Baltimore County New Americans Task Force, please visit the work group’s webpage.

County to Hold 2023 Litter Blitz

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is calling on County residents and organizations to help reduce the litter that degrades our communities and threatens our waterways. BaltCo Litter Blitz — a grassroots outreach effort that begins on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22 — invites groups of any size in Baltimore County to “team up to tackle litter” by hosting community cleanups and sharing results.

“A clean Baltimore County is a healthy and thriving Baltimore County, and all are encouraged to come together and help to ensure that those who visit, live and work here are able to enjoy all of the natural beauty our communities offer, said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “We all have a responsibility to take care of the environment, and working together to keep neighborhoods clean and waterways litter free is a win for everyone.”

Details and resources for the initiative, including a registration form, a cleanup checklist and social media toolkit, an interactive cleanup map and real-time results dashboard, are all accessible via the County’s website. Groups that choose to organize a cleanup can register their events, request supplies and indicate if they are seeking volunteers, and people who wish to volunteer can find contact information to reach out to them directly.

Upon request, the County is providing contractor bags and safety gloves to registered cleanups while supplies last and trash pickups for large cleanups.

The Litter Blitz initiative, which runs through Memorial Day, is a partnership between the County Executive’s Office, Baltimore County departments – Public Works and Transportation, and Environmental Protection and Sustainability.

Long-Term Anti-Litter Programs

In addition to the one-month Litter Blitz promotion, Olszewski encourages people to participate in the County’s year-round litter collection programs, Adopt-A-Road and the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.

The County’s Adopt-a-Road program currently includes 130 groups that pick up litter along a designated section of county roadway at least four times per year. Eligible adopters include civic and nonprofit organizations, school groups, commercial and private enterprises, families and individuals.

The Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge allows groups who conduct a 15-minute litter cleanup to designate a Baltimore County public school to earn credit towards grants to fund school-based environmental projects like outdoor classrooms, butterfly or rain gardens and nature educational opportunities for students.

Olszewski Submits FY24 County Budget

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski submitted a $4.9 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2024 that provides historic funding for public education, creates near-universal community college for county residents, and provides record investment in government employees — among other key priorities that will move Baltimore County forward.

“This budget strengthens our new standards of excellence—investing in our people, our communities and our shared future—and will continue to push Baltimore County toward its highest potential,” Olszewski said. “Together we will continue to build on the historic progress we have already made, address longstanding disparities in our communities, and raise the bar even higher in the years ahead.”


In today’s address to the County Council, Olszewski highlighted record investments in education and support for key priorities that will move Baltimore County forward. The total proposed Operating Budget is $4.9 billion.

Below are highlights of the FY24 budget that County Executive Olszewski submitted to the Baltimore County Council.

Investing in K-12 Education

Provides a $71 million increase above the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) for Baltimore County Public Schools — the single largest increase in County history.
Provides nearly $210 million in capital funding for school construction projects, including millions to support new or like-new buildings for Lansdowne High School, Towson High School, and Dulaney High School.
Provides full funding for step increases and a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for BCPS staff.
Investing in Higher Education

Expands the Community College of Baltimore County’s (CCBC) College Promise Program to provide near-universal, free community college to any Baltimore County household making less than $150,000 a year for residents seeking a full-time degree, part-time degree, or workforce certification program.
Freezes in-County tuition at CCBC for all residents for sixth year in a row.
Investing in County Employees

Provides a 4 percent Cost-Of-Living Adjustment or equivalent increase — the highest year-over-year increase in County employee pay in at least 3 decades — in addition to full funding of steps and increments for employees.
Creates a $500,000 student loan relief fund for employees.
Contributes $119 million to OPEB — a nearly 25 percent year-over-year increase — to the fund that provides health and life insurance benefits for retired County employees.
Retains a 20 percent fund balance-critical for maintaining the County’s bond ratings.
Investing in Safer Communities

Provides historic pay increases for our law enforcement professionals, including our police officers, 911 personnel, correctional officers, and sheriff’s deputies.
Provides over $9 million towards a new Catonsville Fire Station and $9 million towards a new Sparrows Point Fire Station and training facility.
Provides more than $4 million towards the planning and design of a new Essex Police Precinct.
Investing in our Infrastructure

Provides $30 million towards major Baltimore County Public Library projects at the Essex, Lansdowne, Randallstown and Woodlawn branches.
Allocates nearly $40 million dollars to continue road resurfacing projects and sidewalk improvements across Baltimore County.
Provides another $5 million in County funding — matching $5 million in new State funding — to support continued redevelopment at Security Square Mall.
Provides another $3 million — matching $3 million in new State funding — to support the revitalization of the Pikesville Armory.
Provides millions for senior center projects across Baltimore County, including funding to finish the expansion and renovation at the Woodlawn Senior Center and towards the new Jacksonville Senior Center and North County Senior Centers.
Investing in Vibrant, Livable Neighborhoods

Permanently eliminates the fees for CountyRide transportation service
Funding to bolster Baltimore County’s immigrant affairs outreach.
Funding to support a Working Group on Resource Coordination to Support Victims of Sexual Exploitation, Violence, and Domestic Abuse.
Investing in Sustainable Communities

Provides more than $63 million in funding for parks and open space, including:
$5 million to renovate, replace, and construct modern athletic fields across Baltimore County, including funding for Baltimore County’s first-ever cricket field at Cloverland Park.
$2 million for Cromwell Valley Park
$2 million for the County’s first water splash pad at Northwest Regional Park
$1.7 million for the Marshy Point Nature Center
$1.5 million for Rosedale Park
$1.5 million to re-envision the former Pahl’s Farm property
$1.2 million to plan the future development of sites like Fort Howard Park and Gerst Road Park.
The County Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed FY24 budget on May 25, 2023.

Olszewski Creates Street Tree Replacement Program

–photo courtesy of Baltimore County Government-

County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced the new Street Tree Replacement program, continuing his administration’s ongoing efforts to restore critical green infrastructure throughout Baltimore County.

The County Executive, local community members and business owners kicked off the initiative — which will see more than 1,300 trees planted in six concentrated areas — by planting a native hackberry tree in downtown Towson.

“Baltimore County is fully committed to making our communities greener, cleaner, and more sustainable – and we are all in on trees as an important part of that commitment,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

“This new Street Tree Replacement Program will help bring back the tree-lined neighborhoods and business corridors that make our County a beautiful and healthy place to live and work.”

Baltimore County’s Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (DEPS) will begin the $625,000 County-funded project by planting 72 street trees in Towson and 31 trees along Dolfield Road in Owings Mills this winter.

Beginning in May, crews will plant approximately 250 trees each in Dundalk, Owings Mills/Randallstown, Parkville, Pikesville and the Security Square area of Woodlawn.

DEPS will reach out to community leaders and adjacent property owners before each planting operation.

“We are excited about County Executive Olszewski’s commitment to add street trees in downtown Towson,” said Baltimore County Councilman Mike Ertel.

“Over the years, we have had many trees that have been lost to aging, disease, construction, vandalism and even car accidents.

The reality is that trees are an important part of a complete streetscape and create a more congenial, walkable and safer atmosphere.”

Trees are critical infrastructure supporting health and well-being by improving air quality, lowering summer temperatures and absorbing greenhouse gasses and stormwater. They are proven to reduce cooling costs and enhance property values.

Last year, Olszewski launched Operation ReTree Baltimore County, a hyper-local tree equity program designed to expand the tree canopy in the urban communities most in need of greening. Through this program, more than 1,000 trees have been planted in Dundalk, Essex Owings Mills, Randallstown and Lansdowne.

Between Operation ReTree Baltimore County and the new Street Tree Replacement Program, the County will plant more street trees in one year than the past eight years combined.

This year, DEPS created two new Forestry Management divisions focused on urban forestry and tree maintenance.

Since 2000, Baltimore County has reforested more than 1,000 rural acres in support of the County’s requirements under the Forest Conservation Act, tree canopy goals and municipal stormwater permit. For the past two decades, Baltimore County has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

Baltimore County’s goal is to achieve and maintain a 50 percent tree canopy Countywide and within the three drinking water reservoirs by the year 2025.

Additionally, the County is striving to achieve and maintain 40 percent tree coverage within the more populated areas inside the Urban Rural Demarcation Line (URDL) and for each of the Census Designated Places (CDPs).

County to Give $2.67 Million Local Organizations for Relief

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that Baltimore County and the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) have awarded more than $2.67 million in American Rescue Plan (ARPA)-funded grants to nearly 30 local community-based organizations to support their recovery and enhance efforts to strengthen neighborhood resiliency.

“Baltimore County remains committed to helping our residents recover from the long-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am very happy to provide these grants to local organizations that continue to advocate for and work on behalf of their communities,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

“We are grateful to our federal partners for providing much-needed recovery funding, allowing Baltimore County to make these awards to nonprofits dedicated to providing critical services on behalf of our residents for years to come.”

Announced in June 2022, the Baltimore County COVID-19 Nonprofit Recovery Grant Fund offered grants starting at $25,000 to Baltimore County community-based organizations to support residents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants, initially capped at $1.3 million and expanded to more than $2.6 million, were made possible through the County’s allocation of ARPA funding. Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) will administer the grants on behalf of Baltimore County.

Funds will to support a diverse range of community efforts, such as behavioral healthcare, conflict resolution services, food access, senior engagement, bilingual outreach emergency shelter and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and much more.

Additionally, funds will help cover revenue reductions or operating expense increases that have occurred due to the pandemic.

“This marks our third time partnering with Baltimore County on COVID relief and recovery and the process has really become seamless,” says Shanaysha Sauls, BCF President & CEO.

“The County Executive’s team is very thoughtful about how to meet the needs of the community and we are proud to put our expertise to use stewarding these critical funds to impactful organizations addressing the mental health crisis, supporting the vulnerable immigrants and refugees and ultimately building a stronger, safer, more resilient region.”

“Our local non-profit community serves critical functions for a surprising number of Baltimore County residents. That’s why we built flexibility into the federal investments we made through the American Rescue Plan, so that local governments could better partner with groups in their communities,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin.

“Team Maryland will continue finding ways to deepen investments in essential community services and to strengthen the non-profit partnerships on which so many Marylanders depend.”

“For many of our communities, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated hardships that already existed,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“That’s why we passed the American Rescue Plan to provide direct resources to help our communities come back even stronger than before COVID-19. I’m pleased to see County Executive Olszewski using these funds to boost many local nonprofits’ efforts – whether they are getting food and clothes to families in need, facilitating access to mental health services, or connecting people to good jobs. This is the American Rescue Plan at work strengthening Baltimore County.”

A full list of the Baltimore County Emergency Response Fund awardees announced today is below:

Afrithrive, Inc.
Assistance Center of Towson Churches
Associated Catholic Charities, Inc.
Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore
Asylee Women Enterprise, Inc.
Baltimore Association of Nepalese in America
CASA, Inc.
Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc. (C.A.S.E.)
Civic Works, Inc.
Community Assistance Network (CAN)
Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County
Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
Episcopal Church of Christ the King/RISE
Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library
House of Ruth Maryland, Inc.
Improving Education
Jewish Community Services, Inc.
Life Builders Church
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
Mental Health Association of Maryland
NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore
Northwest Hospital Center
Outcast Food Network
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
Student Support Network
The Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, Inc.
TurnAround, Inc.
World Relief Corporation of National Association of Evangelicals

“The American Rescue Plan is game-changing legislation. Nearly two years after it was signed into law, we are still seeing its positive impacts on the lives of everyday people,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume.

“This bold, congressional action helped our nation avoid another Great Recession, or perhaps even Great Depression, by investing in real communities that needed help then and now. I look forward to seeing the results the selected organizations will produce with this federal support,” he concluded.

“The organizations that are receiving grants today have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic and during our recovery, providing essential services in so many areas including healthcare, education, food assistance and even legal aid,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said.

“I supported the American Rescue Plan Act, in part, so that we can empower our community nonprofits to do what they do best – serving people – and I have no doubt we will see an exponential return on this investment.”

The COVID-19 Nonprofit Recovery Fund is the latest in a series of partnerships between Baltimore County and BCF. In March 2020, the County and BCF launched the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which provided 50 local community-based organizations grants totaling $400,000 to enhance the County’s response to the COVID-19 crisis last summer.

In June 2021, the County and BCF established a fund to support the Baltimore County Summer Youth Jobs Program, providing skills training, coaching and paid work experience at public and private sector organizations for 300 Baltimore County youth.

County Purchases Rec Center for Halethorpe

-photo courtesy of Baltimore County Government-

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced the purchase of the approximately 24,000-square foot Leadership Through Athletics indoor recreation facility, located at 2900 Hammonds Ferry Road in the Halethorpe community.

The site, acquired for $3.17 million with funding assistance through Maryland’s Program Open Space, continues the Olszewski administration’s ongoing efforts to expand recreational opportunities throughout Baltimore County.

“We remain fully committed to expanding recreational opportunities in every community across our county and are excited to have the opportunity to continue the rich legacy of this beloved Halethorpe facility,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “I am grateful to our state partners, our colleagues on the County Council, and former County Executive Mohler for their support in helping to make this exciting new project a reality.”

The Leadership Through Athletics center was acquired from the Grace family, lifelong residents of southwest Baltimore County, who operated the facility for nearly 18 years.

The newly-acquired facility features a double gymnasium, second floor half gymnasium, activity room, and basement activity space.

This is the Olszewski administration’s eleventh recreation and parks acquisition since the start of 2021.

The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks will operate the facility as a public recreation center, with activities and programs that will build upon the legacy of the beloved community-oriented center.

“We are very excited about this new facility acquisition,” said Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks Director Roslyn Johnson. “The Grace family wanted to ensure this Lansdowne asset was accessible to the community and we will ensure it is. Lansdowne is an area that is in need of more recreational opportunities and, for us, this was an ideal opportunity to fulfill an important need.”

Established under the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in 1969, Program Open Space provides financial and technical assistance to local jurisdictions for park acquisition, development, and enhancements.

Since 1970, the County has utilized over $155 million in POS funding to assist in the acquisition of more than 6,800 acres of parkland, and for the construction, enhancement and renovations of recreational facilities at parks and public school recreation centers. The parkland acquisition program has allowed for the preservation of thousands of acres of woodlands, stream valleys and other sensitive lands.

With the support of POS funding, Baltimore County has secured, expanded, and improved a wide range of public parks and recreation sites including Oregon Ridge Park and Nature Center, Cromwell Valley Park, Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, seven regional parks and athletic facilities, and nearly 100 neighborhood and community parks.

Community Meeting for New Towson Schools

BCPS will host a community stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. to review the recommended mitigation option for the Towson High School renovation and replacement school project, including recommendations based on stakeholder input from a 30-day comment and survey period as well as the requirements of the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT) Section 106 process.

The meeting will be held at West Towson Elementary School cafeteria/gymnasium
6914 N. Charles Street in Towson.

Raven Theme Playground Built in Owings Mills

Baltimore County officials debuted a new Baltimore Ravens-themed playground in Owings Mills. The playground, made possible with a $500,000 contribution by the Baltimore Ravens as part of the NFL Play 60 Initiative, is the area’s first destination playground.

Located in Northwest Regional Park, the new playground includes a wheelchair-accessible rubberized surface, timed challenge course with obstacles, artificial turf 40-yard dash, custom climbing structures and a towering play system and slides reaching more than 17 feet tall.

“We believe all young people deserve access to high-quality, fun, and healthy play options – all things that are now offered to residents and visitors alike through our Ravens-themed destination playground,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

“I am grateful to the Baltimore Ravens, Speaker Adrienne Jones and my partners on the County Council for supporting this innovative, first-of-its-kind project.”

“We are honored to be involved with this meaningful project, knowing it will provide a safe and unique space for children and their families to enjoy,” said Baltimore Ravens president Sashi Brown.

“This destination playground is unlike anything in the area and we know it will offer fun and fitness for visitors from all over Baltimore County for years to come.”

The playground includes a wheelchair-accessible rubberized surface, timed challenge course with obstacles, synthetic turf 40-yard dash, musical elements, custom climbing structures and a towering play system with slides reaching more than 17-feet tall. PlayPower, Inc. constructed the approximately 0.8-acre playground.

“Children and families from across Baltimore County now have another safe place to play and enjoy the outdoors,” said House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones.

“I want to thank all our partners — including the Baltimore Ravens — who have once again shown their commitment to keeping Baltimore County a great place to live.”

“I couldn’t be more thrilled about this project, which will put smiles on the faces of children countywide,” said Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian Jones.

“I’m glad my colleagues on the Council, our state partners and the Ravens organization could work together to make this a reality.”

Protecting open space and creating more recreational opportunities are priorities in Baltimore County, and County Executive Olszewski has dedicated a record $75 million in state and local funds for parks and recreation in his FY2022 budget; more than the last six years combined.

“With this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of Title 9, it is a great reminder that we need to not only push boys but also continue to push girls and women forward, supporting them in their athletic pursuits and ensuring they can see themselves out there on the playing field and in sports executives’ offices,” said Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks Director Roslyn Johnson. “Thanks to our many partners, this playground does just that!”

This project represents the Department of Recreation and Parks and Baltimore County’s dedication to reimagining the state of play in Baltimore County. Baltimore County has made access to quality recreation opportunities a priority and this destination playground is the first new example of that focus.