Twelve years after the it was defoliated to make way for road projects, the Benfield Road corridor will get a face lift this fall.
The plans, unveiled to 30 community activists Monday night by the coordinators of the county executive's beautification program, called for perennial gardens and scores of red maple and cherry trees to be planted by Nov. 24 along a half-mile stretch of Benfield between Jumpers Hole and Bendale Drive.
"These are going to be large, colorful trees, close enough together that they make a statement," said Jack Feick of the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, which, along with members of the Greater Severna Park Council, formed the Benfield beautification group.
The beautification task force has been lobbying the county for the $65,000 project since October 1987, complaining that fencing and parking lots dominate Severna Park's main east-west corridor.
One of the eyesores most often cited is a 600-foot-long brown fence that serves as a noise barrier for the Kensington community. Under the plan, the three-foot wide right-of-way along that fence will be turned into a long flower garden that will require annual maintenance.
Landscapers selected the foliage to be planted along the fence and elsewhere throughout the project for year-round color. The cherry trees will blossom in the spring and the maples will turn to a stunning red each fall, planners say.
The half-mile stretch to be improved was once well-lined with mature walnut and cherry trees but was cleared out in 1978 to widen Benfield Road.
"The county is finally righting their wrongs," said 25-year county resident Robert Cancelliere, "In 1978 when they widened the road they took out the walnut trees -- some of them 30 and 40 years old -- and cut them into cordwood."
As the word "cordwood" passed Cancelliere's lips, the landscaping enthusiasts -- mostly members of the task force -- gasped as if he had described a heinous murder.
The Benfield "Roadside Showcase" will become the fourth county beautification project to be completed in the last two years, said beautification coordinator Anne Pace. The others are along the College Parkway and Dorsey Road median strips, and along Ritchie Highway between Marley Station and Furnace Branch Road.
Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990