Garage, Growth Important To Commissioner Hopefuls

Donald J. Arnold

Bel Air Town Election '91/candidates And Viewpoints

February 24, 1991|By Carol L Bowers | Carol L Bowers,Staff writer

* Arnold, a Bel Air lawyer, says only half-jokingly that he wants tobe elected to Bel Air's Board of Commissioners so he can "straightenthese people out on parking."

Arnold, 29, said the current board is "obsessed" by the town's new multilevel parking garage on Hickory Avenue, which has not attracted many users.

"Sure, we need to get the garage use up, but there are a lot of long-range issues that need to be addressed, such as what areas shouldbe developed, and there's annexation," said Arnold, running for one of two open commissioner seats in the March 12 election.

Arnold, who has lived within the town limits since October, graduated from BelAir High School in 1979. He has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of West Virginia and holds a degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

He serves on the Bel Air Youth Center's board of directors and is a member of the Greater Fallston Democratic Club.

Arnold said he would like to see the town government work to attract new businesses that are architecturally compatible with and complement existing businesses.

"The town's doing pretty well, but with inflation, and without an additional source of commercialtax income, it could be tough," he said.


CAPTION: Donald J. Arnold


* Grant says the interest in government that prompted her to run for the board began in the days she spent as a teacher at John Carroll High School.

"I taught a class called Community Problems, and I would ask government officialsto come in and talk to the class," said Grant, now the executive director of the Edgewood Multi-Purpose Youth Center.

"It created a lifelong interest in government, and now that I have such a flexible schedule, it seemed like the perfect time to run."

Grant, who declined to give her age, said she thought the board could use "a few more gray heads." Candidates are not required to give their ages on election filing papers.

Grant, who taught at John Carroll for 22 years, has lived in Bel Air for three years.

She said she has always loved Bel Air's small-town atmosphere and wants to work to preserve it. "I'd drop my daughters off at the theater in Bel Air, and I'd tell them if you have a problem just go down to Courtland Hardware and ask Mr. (Eugene) Graybeal to use his phone," Grant said. "That's the kind of town Bel Air was, and still is, for that matter."

But Bel Air has problems it must address to cope with its growth, says Grant.

"Bel Air is going to have to make some decisions about water sources," said Grant. "And they have to get some use out of that parking garage. It lends itself to obsession -- I mean, look at that thing."

Shesaid the town must work harder to relieve traffic congestion, but that doesn't necessarily mean adding more traffic lights.

"They're adding another traffic light on U.S. 1. Why? Traffic's already backed up without adding another light along that stretch," Grant said.

Bel Air also must work harder to attract "nice, clean little businesses that contribute a great deal to tax revenues."


CAPTION: Madeleine W. Grant


* It's been 40 yearssince Graybeal first ran for the town board.

At 74, he's making his second try to become a commissioner. He thinks he has more to offer now.

"I can give the job a little more experience and some different insights," said Graybeal, who operated Courtland Hardware on Bond Street until he retired.

"One advantage to getting older is thatyou've run into more situations and learned to handle them."

Graybeal, who has lived on West Gordon Street just outside the town limits much of his life, moved eight months ago to a home two blocks away from his old residence and just inside the town.

Graybeal was president of the committee that drafted Harford'scounty charter in 1970, and served 10 years, including a term as president, on the county Board of Education. He also served five years on Harford Community College's Board of Trustees.

He still serves on the board of the Liriodendron Mansion and is a member of the Al Cesky scholarship committee.

Graybeal said he would support the town planning department's proposal to revamp the Bond Street business area to attract more commercial businesses and improve pedestrian walkways on the street.

Attracting more commercial businesses could broaden the town's tax base,said Graybeal, adding that he would like to see town property taxes "stay low."

"But there's been more discussion about the parking garage

than anything else," Graybeal said. "It is a couple years ahead of its time, and when people are not used to paying for parking, it takes them a while to get used to it. But it will fill up eventually, and it will be an asset to the town."

Traffic in Bel Air, however,is one situation that isn't improving, Graybeal said.

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