Save the YMCA Kelso Home Building

  • By: Towson Native
  • Target: YMCA of Central Maryland and Baltmore County Government
  We the undersigned:  In the interests of preserving Towson history, maintaining the excellent community centered preschool, and conserving energy through building reuse while preventing waste - - we seek to save the Kelso Home building from demolition.    
  The historic 1925 Kelso Home for Girls portion of the Towson YMCA is to be demolished.  It was completed as an orphanage by acclaimed Maryland Architect: Otto Eugene Adams.  Currently serving mostly as a large preschool, it has child-watch, craft, dance, and multipurpose functions also.  It is accessible, having an elevator connecting all floors to the at-grade bottom level where it adjoins the YMCA main fitness entrance.  It is an enduring and well crafted classical brick, stone and slate building that follows principals of Colonial-Revival style while showing the Beaux-Arts influences of the designer.    Historic teardown:  YMCA of Central Maryland, apparently at the bidding of Baltimore County Parks and Recreation who intend to purchase the site, propose to demolish the historic Kelso Home for Girls Preschool building on their Towson campus.  According to site plans, Kelso will be replaced by part of an athletic field.    Eliminates Preschool:  Redevelopment proposed at the Towson Family YMCA campus will eliminate the excellent community-walkable Towson Y Journeys Preschool, thereby impacting families of the 20 teachers and usually 100 students. Proposing instead to completely disconnect the institution from its position in the heart of several mature West Towson neighborhoods.     Not Green Redevelopment and Not Smart Growth:  Planning ignores the major principles of sustainable design / Reduce, Re-use, Recycle / insisting that none of the buildings on the site are worthy of rehabilitation, yet still promoting and seeking certification as a Green redevelopment.  The concept for the public park project should evolve with participation by the public.  All criteria for the proposal, such as needs and arrangement should be open to debate by interested County residents.  Historic, cultural, natural and other assets unique to the community should be identified and conserved.  
A new YMCA with improved campus and preservation of the historic Kelso building are not mutually exclusive possibilities.  
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