I drive by the former Rosewood Center every day on Garrison Forest Road on my way to the Jewish Times’ Owings Mills office. Its boarded- up buildings covered in vines, abandoned basketball courts and overgrown grass are as much a part of my commute as Greenspring Station, which I also pass every day.
An average passer-by might be spooked looking into the east end of 178 abandoned acres with 37 decaying buildings, but anyone who lives or works around them has become used to the sight, as we all did the Owings Mills Mall, which sat vacant for years. But like the Owings Mills Mall site, Rosewood has been given a new life, thanks to Stevenson University.
As you’ll read in this week’s cover story by Justin Silberman, the state recently approved a plan to turn over 117 acres of Rosewood’s campus to Stevenson. While plans are still in the works, the university will rehab or knock down 17 buildings to make way for athletic facilities and academic buildings that former Stevenson president Kevin J. Manning hopes will be shared with the community, including the neighboring Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC and Jemicy School.
As someone who grew up just miles up the road in Worthington Park, it’s good to see some positive development at a site that has become little more than an eyesore. As I remember the Owings Mills Mall in its heyday, I also remember Rosewood as an active hospital for those with intellectual disabilities. No one wants to see their hometown become a corridor of memorials to the past, and I’m sure most area residents look forward to our local university expanding as I do.
If you’re a local history buff, you’ll know that Owings Mills was supposed to be a community planned around a lake, much like Columbia, but the plan was scrapped due to environmental concerns. Development didn’t quite happen as originally planned, and because of that, Owings Mills, over time, became a town that didn’t have much of an identity.
While the town still appears to be refining that identity, developers are certainly trying to make it a destination. With places such as Metro Centre and Foundry Row and development at the Owings Mills Mall, some long-vacant sites are being turned into commercial destinations. Stevenson’s acquisition of Rosewood will expand the university’s presence in town and hopefully continue to grow its student body.
Perhaps, in time, Owings Mills will find itself.