Davidsonville Ruritan to Become New HQ for Maryland Farm Bureau
The Davidsonville Ruritan Center was sold to the Maryland Farm Bureau in December. The sale was private, according to Val Connelly, executive director of the bureau, which currently has its headquarters in Randallstown, Baltimore County. The farm bureau will be moving their entire operation to Davidsonville once the building of the interior space is completed. The building is located at 3358 Davidsonville Road.
Connelly said that while the building will no longer be available for public use—it’s being converted to office space—the fields outside will be leased back to the Ruritan Club who will in turn be providing recreation space to Davidsonville Athletic Association.
Connelly said that members of the Anne Arundel County Farm Bureau were instrumental in the deal. The building was never publicly on the market. Instead, local members got word that the Ruritans were interested in selling. They knew that the Maryland Farm Bureau had outgrown their space and wanted to be closer to Annapolis.
Connelly said that the move will double their space and give them plenty of parking, something they lack at their existing location.
“I’ve been here for 18 years, and it has been one of our goals to relocate. We’ve searched for some time, but spent the past five years truly trying to find a location,” Connelly said.
They will turn the larger of the two rooms into office space for their staff of 11. The smaller of the two rooms, the one furthest from 424, will be used for training and conferences for members and their 23 county farm bureaus from around the state.
They will build-out the new space in the immediate future with a goal of moving in sometime in the spring.
Then they will put the Randallstown building on the market after they have moved here.
“We are looking forward to becoming a part of the community,” Connelly said. “We love being around the corner from Homestead Gardens.”
The Davidsonville Ruritan Club founded in 1955, has rented the building out to the public for events and banquets for years and leased the fields to the north of the building to the Davidsonville Athletic Association for youth sports. With a decline in Ruritan club membership in recent years, the group struggled to find the necessary resources to pay for the building’s upkeep and maintenance.
In 2011, the club had hoped to install a T-Mobile cell phone reception tower on the property, but county planners rejected the plan after it was discovered that the property sat in an historic district.
Currently, the Davidsonville Ruritan Club has a recorded message that they are no longer renting out the banquet space to the public.
The Ruritans are a national organization dedicated to community service with over 30,000 members. All of their programs are local — they don’t have a national focus. Many Ruritan clubs sponsor scouting activities, 4-H and Future Farmers of America chapters. Aside from the Davidsonville group, the Lothian Ruritans also have a chapter in South County, theirs was founded in 1952. The Lothian Ruritans do not have a building facility.
Connelly said that the Maryland Farm Bureau will host an open house for the community so that they can come through and see the changes once the construction is complete. They also hope to host educational opportunities and showcase the benefits that they offer to members, including discounts on everything from hotels to energy to insurance — including health plans so that their members can participate in the Affordable Care Act.