The Millersville/Severn Run Federation is attempting to shed its combative image as the "anti-East-West Boulevard organization" and move ahead to broader issues affecting the central Interstate 97 corridor.
At its second official monthly meeting Tuesday, the seven-community council's interim president, George Cumberledge, repeatedly insisted that "this is not a one-issue organization," complaining that "thepress" has unfairly characterized the federation as such in the past.
But with key committee posts still vacant, no other active issueson the table, and a two-month summer break coming up in July, it maybe a while before the group develops an idea of what it does stand for now that it has decided to downplay East-West Boulevard.
In a letter addressed to 11 elected officials and civil servants, Cumberledge wrote that the mission of the group is "to unite communities geographically similar for their mutual benefit and best interest."
Thefederation did not take any positions Tuesday, but did agree to "find out what's going on with" zoning, the county's new sign bill, the decennial Charter Review committee, Recreation and Parks, the B & A Trail, Gypsy Moths and Frontage Road -- all issues affecting the west Severna Park/Millersville area.
"We're mainly gathering informationfor now, but we're developing an idea of what we are interested in,"said Secretary Steve Finlayson, one of the group's founders. "If we find a position we like that doesn't exist, then we'll start agitating for it."
Even the federation's Public Works chairman, Jim Pell, a founding member who was removed as a member of the Greater Severna Park Council's Public Works committee because of his vocal oppositionto East-West Boulevard, downplayed the importance of the stalled road proposal.
"I think it's in our best interest to move on to otherissues other than East-West. It'll improve our working relationship with the county and we certainly don't want to get tagged as the 'East-West organization,' " Pell said.
Pell has arranged a question-and-answer session with Roland Davis of the county's traffic engineering division, scheduled for June 3 at a location to be announced later.
The federation, made up of representatives from the Shipley's Choice Homeowners Association, Elvaton, Brightwood, Olde Mill, Chartwell, Millrace and Kilmarnock, is also looking for a volunteer to head its zoning and environmental committees. Federation members also want to create new education and parks committees but has not found anybodyto fill those positions, either.
With the exception of Olde Mill and Mill Race, all of the communities in the Millersville/Severn Run Federation also belong to the 63-community Greater Severna Park Council.
The GSPC has active committees that since the 1950s have been studying the same issues the federation plans to study, but Cumberledge insists that the federation will not be redundant.
"The GreaterSeverna Park Council covers too much space to deal with the problemsin our area with the specificity it deserves. Their geographic center is around the Severna Park Library. We feel we can serve our area better," Cumberledge said.
The federation intends to serve the areanorth of Benfield and west of Jumpers Hole Road, stretching into OldMill and west Millersville.