A crowd of more than 50 gathered at the old Pikesville Armory on Monday afternoon, as Gov. Larry Hogan took a tour of the property for the first time after issuing an executive order to create the Commission of the Future of the Pikesville Armory last September.
As part of the effort, Hogan appointed Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-District 11) as the head of the commission.
Before the governor arrived, Zirkin shared his gratitude for Hogan’s enthusiasm toward this project. “The governor has taken a keen interest in making sure we get something done with this,” said Zirkin. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate his interest.”
The 14-plus-acre property around the armory at 610 Reisterstown Road consists of five separate structures, only one of which, the NCO Building, is fully functional. The armory itself is a 95,000-square-foot structure, which used to hold polo matches and horse-riding events before becoming a drill floor for the National Guard in the early 1970s.
“It’s a very important spot here in Pikesville, and it’s got a great history, but we got to decide what its next life is going to be,” said Hogan. “That’s why I’m thankful for all the people serving on the commission and thankful to Sen. Zirkin for his leadership.”
According to Zirkin, the commission is still taking suggestions from community members as to the best use for the site. Although nothing is close to being confirmed, Zirkin noted that the general consensus is that the site should be used for the community.
One of the key factors is determining the cost of renovation. Zirkin said Hogan has already set aside funds to size-evaluate the land. “The governor put $300,000 in the state budget this year for phase one and phase two environmental assessments and other assessments that might be necessary so we can truly evaluate the project,” he said.
Although the project is far from finished, Zirkin is proud of the bipartisan cooperation. “You look 40 miles south to Washington and see what government is not supposed to look like.” Party lines in Annapolis, Zirkin asserted, are meaningless. “This is the way it’s supposed to be; people working for the common good.”