Woodlawn Hts. Group Discusses Light Rail, Bwi, Moths

February 05, 1991|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,Staff writer

Light rail, roaring planes and gypsy moths are weighing on the mindsof Woodlawn Heights residents as they prepare to revive a long-dormant community association.

The Woodlawn Heights Community Association, representing some 430 households between Ferndale and Linthicum, is springing back to life after years of inactivity.

The community plans to elect an association president and nine members of the board of directors within the next several weeks, said Phil Solloway Sr., the association's acting president.

Solloway said earlier battles to preserve open space and fight zoning changes proved time-consuming, leaving community members weary of further involvement. Apathy and the absence of issues to unite the community also hampered efforts to organize, he said.

As a result, the once-thriving community association remained virtually inactive for nearly a decade.

Today, however, many younger residents have moved in and hopeto have more say in what becomes of the community around them, Solloway said.

They share with some older residents concerns about light-rail, expected to roll into town within the next few years; roaringplanes from the ever-expanding Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and gypsy moths munching on the old oak trees.

Solloway said residents want to work closely with state officials to keep abreastof light rail plans and ensure the rail line doesn't swallow up community properties against owners' wishes.

"People around here really seem to like the light-rail idea, if it goes right," Solloway said,"as long as the state doesn't try grabbing somebody's property when they're not looking, as long as they don't try to do it in a sneaky way."

The association also figures to keep close tabs on state aviation officials' plans for nearby BWI Airport, Solloway said. As in most communities surrounding the airport, BWI is viewed as less-than-ideal neighbor of Woodlawn Heights.

Solloway said many residents have called to complain that they can't keep windows open in the springand fall because of ear-splitting noise from planes.

"The airportpeople just give you this song and dance every time you call," he said. "They just haven't played fair with the community."

The airport's decision to cut down hundreds of nearby trees for a parking lot, for example, shocked many residents who had heard nothing of such plans, Solloway said.

Community leaders hope residents' involvement and vigilance will help penetrate what many view as a veil of secrecy surrounding state plans at the airport.

Solloway said the association also plans to hire a private contractor to spray for gypsy moths,as county money to do so seems doubtful at best.

Solloway, a father of three who has lived in the 35-year-old community since 1967, does not plan to run for president of the association, which is still gathering names of potential candidates.

The association meets the last Tuesday of each month at the Linthicum Library, but is considering moving its meetings to the Ferndale Senior Center.

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