Open Forum: Land Sale Will Help Improve The Trails at MSV | Winchester Star

This holiday season, gratitude has been a priority. I am grateful to our members and donors whose generous contributions allow the MSV to offer programming and exhibitions in our gardens, galleries and on the Trails of the MSV. I am grateful for the vision and leadership of our volunteer board of directors, who provide incredible insight into this local community. I am also grateful to the Glass-Glen Burnie Foundation, the non-profit foundation whose work in supporting the MSV is often overlooked but is crucial to the existence of the MSV.

You may be aware that the Glass รข€“ Glen Burnie Foundation has contracted to sell 20 acres of land adjacent to The Trails at MSV. While I cannot speak directly on behalf of the foundation, which is a separate entity from MSV, I want to clarify information regarding this sale as it has sparked public controversy.

The original plan for The Trails at MSV called for walking trails along the perimeter of the entire property, including the 20-acre parcel currently sold by the foundation. However, during community information sessions on this plan, some neighbors expressed their concern about the walking trails near their backyards. So, the MSV revised the design of the park and mapped out all of the trails inside the 190-acre property, the largest green space within the city limits.

The 20-acre parcel sold by the foundation โ€“ which is separate from the 190-acre property โ€“ has been zoned low-density residential for decades. When approached by a developer who wanted to buy this plot after obtaining the adjacent land from a private owner, the foundation decided to sell. This sale provides significant public benefit by helping provide grants to improve trails at MSV. Planned upgrades include restrooms for trail users, additional ADA trails in the existing 90-acre park, art installations in the park, and areas designed for even more community engagement.

Seeing the trails at MSV filled with hundreds of visitors every day is a source of great joy and pride and marks the most rewarding project I have undertaken here at MSV. I can assure you that Les Sentiers du MSV will only get better in the years to come; the Foundation does not plan to sell the remaining areas included in the MSV complex. Grants from the foundation will support much of this growth and the increased annual operating costs that will result from it, and I am grateful for that.

Thank you again to our members and donors for their support for the programming, exhibitions and trails of the MSV. Hope everyone in our community enjoys the MSV and all that it has to offer.

Dana Hand Evans is Director and CEO of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley