Bobby Zirkin, Larry Hogan Praise Transfer of Rosewood Center to Stevenson University

Sen. Bobby Zirkin (Photo by David Stuck)

During an appearance at Stevenson University on Thursday to celebrate the planned transfer of the state-owned former Rosewood Center to the sprawling school, Sen. Bobby Zirkin finally had the chance to exhale.

Zirkin (D-District 11), who represents the Rosewood area in Owings Mills, had pushed state officials for nearly the last two decades to sell the former psychiatric institution for the developmentally disabled to Stevenson. Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan and the other two members of the state’s Board of Public Works OK’d the sale of 117 of the remaining 178 acres at Rosewood to the university for $1.

Zirkin described the land deal as a bipartisan effort, saying the first conversation he had with the Republican governor, Hogan “committed to me that we would get this ball across the goal line. And we’re across the goal line.”

When Hogan first took office, he acknowledged he wasn’t fully aware of just how much remediation — or environmental cleanup — Zirkin and other state officials had been working to combat. Among the issues include high levels of toxic chemicals and asbestos and lead-based paint in buildings that the state has pledged $16 million in grants to help remove from the 129-year-old property.

Hogan said he is confident Stevenson will come up with a viable plan that benefits the university’s students in and out of the classroom, as well as the surrounding community.

“We’re proud to finally be able to make this a reality,” Hogan said. “This will be a great addition to the university.”

A building sits abandon at the former state-run Rosewood Center (Photo provided)

Final plans for the development of the 17 buildings Stevenson will take over have not been decided, but new Stevenson President Eillot Hirshman said the Rosewood expansion will help the university meet its growing demand.

His predecessor, Kevin J. Manning, told the JT last month that he anticipates academic buildings, athletics facilities and possibly a field house, a swimming pool and an ice rink. Manning, Stevenson’s president emeritus, was not among the several dozen attendees on Thursday.

Hirshman, who started his new job this week, said demolition and cleanup efforts will start soon and be a top focus during the next two years. Once that process is complete, he said a clearer picture of potential uses for Rosewood, which has sat vacant since 2009, should start to come into focus.

“I know that we all celebrate the possibilities and promise of Rosewood … with gratitude for the people who support our mission and with optimism for the future of Stevenson University and our entire region,” Hirshman said.

Under terms of the deal, the university has until Oct. 18, 2019, to address the environmental issues to the satisfaction of the Maryland Department of the Environment for the sale to be finalized.

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