The former site of the Gateway School in Clarksville could be getting greener–with grass, trees and money–as Howard County's plans for a pedestrian-friendly retail complex move forward.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced the county agreed to sell the old Gateway School property to GreenStone Ventures II for $5 million, with plans to replace it with a development featuring pedestrian-oriented shops, restaurants and a farmer's market "concept."
"The redevelopment of this site is important for this area of Clarksville, and that is why we have worked so hard with the community and the purchaser to find a solution," Ulman said in a statement. "We believe this project will become a dynamic and unique destination."
Access to the site has become a point of controversy between the local residents and those within the county who are for the development. As it currently sits, a sole driveway from Route 108 is the only access point to the site.
The county agreed to do a traffic study after River Hill residents testified for maintaining pedestrian and traffic safety in the area of Route 108 and the River Hill Village Center, which sits directly across the street from the Gateway School driveway.
According to the Howard County Times, GreenStone's initial solution was to purchase a plot of land beside the Gateway School property currently owned by Kendall Hardware, in order to lengthen Great Star Drive across Route 108 and create a side entrance to the development.
But the county sees Kendall Hardware's $1.3 million asking price for the property as too expensive, reports the Times.
In the meantime, the county will go ahead with a two-phase plan which will let GreenStone begin drawing up plans for the sustainable shopping center, earning the county $2 million upon completion.
Further development will continue once GreenStone acquires access to the site approved by the State Highway Association. This second phase will bring another $3 million to the county.
"We look forward to making certain that we exceed the high standards and expectations that have been set for all of us," said George Stone, Principal of GreenStone Ventures II.