Aberdeen B&O Park needs a lot of work and funding, but there is potential in the public space. My vision for the space is for the historic train station to be renovated into a community center and the plot of land to be become a park for children. Seating, a basketball court, a playground, games are all components to improve the space. However, before any of these ideas can be materialized, the public needs to become involved in this endeavor. The park doesn’t need to be rezoned and eminent domain needs to occur since it is already public space.
In order for the project to be successful, the public needs to be involved. We can do this by taking surveys of the local citizens, and holding public hearings. Hopefully any public or political issues that need to be addressed will come up during this time period. Some political issues that could come up are the courses of action of how to renovate the historical site, or the question of why building the park and renovating the station. The question of why renovating the station could be answered with that it is a part of our local history, sets the area apart from other cities and therefore deserves to be preserved. Creating a park on that site would be beneficial to the local area as it can create a sense of community for the locals, and keep kids out of trouble. As for the question of how the renovation will take place, architects who focus on historical preservation would be needed to answer those questions.
The main drawing point of my public project is a historical site. The historic Aberdeen B&O Train Station lies on the Aberdeen Railroad Station Food Park. Before any renovation of the actual park can be done, the city needs to make a decision to either move the station before restoring it or restoring it as it is. A private company could purchase the site and renovate it into a new space such as a small community center. Whatever path they decide, it will be expensive to do so. There are several ways to fund this historical project though, including the Maryland Heritage Fund (up to $10,000 in grant funds), Maryland Historical Trust (grants, loans, and tax credits) and the 10%/20% Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Other issues that could come up, are any unforeseen structural or costs with the train station during renovation.
All these issues based on the historical building needs to be addressed even before work on the park itself begins. However, once the park is complete, I believe that all people in the area will have access to it and the community will benefit from it.