When Morton and Betty Abrams moved to Glen Burnie in 1960, they paidlittle attention to the airport nestled in the nearby fields. But inrecent years, they've often been jolted awake by the roar of jet planes.
From their front door, the Abramses can watch a steady procession of low-flying planes swooping over their home and heading to Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
"It's quite noisy," said Morton Abrams, a retired Defense Department official. "The airplanes look about 100 feet on top of your house. You can see and hear them very clearly."
Within the next three months, the Abramses expect some relief from the noise.
Their home is one of 60 that will receive soundproofing and extra insulation, paid for with federal and state money. Another 20 families living in the airport's noise zone are getting resale insurance -- a guarantee that the state will make up the difference if the home sells for less than fair market value.
The Federal Aviation Administration pledged$1.8 million this week to help 80 families living in Glen Burnie Park and Queenstown, southeast of the airport.
Both neighborhoods arein the mid-range of the noise zone, an area that averages a reading of more than 70 decibels during a 24-hour period, said Barbara Grey, manager of BWI's programming and environmental services.
Homeowners in the most severe part of the noise zone, the 12,100 acres deemed too noisy for habitation, are eligible to be bought out by state and federal grants. More than 130 families have escaped BWI's noise through that land acquisition program, which just received an $8.2 millionboost two weeks ago.
"I think it's great," said Lewin S. Maddox, Glen Burnie's representative on the Airport Neighborhood Committee, an 11-member state group that works with BWI to solve noise, traffic and related problems. "It's going to help those 80 people a lot."
Many families applied for soundproofing several years ago. The programis the most popular option for families living far enough from the airport to escape the pounding noise of planes taking off and landing,Andrews said.
With the $1.8 million federal grant and another $456,000 from the state, the Maryland Aviation Administration will begininstalling wallboard and heavy insulation to soundproof the 60 targeted homes.
The Abrams family expects to receive new windows, stormdoors, insulation and air conditioning. Once the noise is blocked out, they hope to relax again, Morton Abrams said.
The latest grant,announced Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Maryland, also provides money to guarantee the resale of homes in Queenstown and Glen Burnie Park. Homes in both neighborhoods usually sell for $114,000 to $130,00, said Margaret "Meg" Andrews, who heads the real estatedivision of the homeowner's assistance programs.
Thirty-five homes in the southern section of Queenstown and 751 in Glen Burnie Park are eligible for either soundproofing or resale insurance, Andrews said.