Rehrmann Gets Earful

Willoughby Beach Road Concerns Voiced

November 17, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

If you ask Albert Bair, chief of the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company, the condition of Willoughby Beach Road in Edgewood should cause alarm bells to ring in county government offices.

He's not the only one who's worried about the main thoroughfare in the community.

Concern about the structural integrity and safety of Willoughby Beach Road was voiced by many who attended a town meeting organized Monday night by County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann.

"The people wholive here have to be scared, because I'm scared driving Willoughby Beach Road," said Bair. "We responded to 2,000 calls last year. You can be driving with the lights flashing and the siren going, and if you're going around a curve, they can't see you coming."

Bair was among about 70 people who attended the town meeting at Edgewood High to tell Rehrmann and department chiefs about problems in the county.

About 25 people took turns at the microphone Monday night to ask Rehrmann and county department chiefs questions on a wide range of topics, from a proposed $60 tipping fee for trash haulers to criteria for issuing day-care licenses.

Most of the citizens, however, talked about poor maintenance and visibility on Willoughby Beach Road. The road is the main thoroughfare in the community and is built on a peninsula bordered by Otter Point Creek and the Bush River.

Willoughby Beach Road is scheduled to be expanded into three lanes, including a turn lane, in 1997, at a cost of $3.3 million, said William T. Baker Jr., director of the Department of Public Works. Sidewalks, curbs and gutters are also scheduled to be added at that time, Baker said at themeeting.

"Reconsider your grandiose plans," however, was the advice offered Baker by Edgewood resident William E. Kinne.

"You're planning a middle lane and sidewalks and curbs on both sides of the road," said Kinne. "I don't need all that. What I need is two lanes witha decent shoulder and drainage. Right now, I've got two lanes and a ditch."

Kinne also suggested the DPW reverse the order in which the two sections of the road are to be reconstructed and expanded.

Current plans call for the section of Willoughby Beach Road from Scholar Road to Route 755 to be expanded first. Kinne argued that the section from Bauers Road, near Scholar Road, to Freys Road should be worked on because of the high accident rate.

Lawrence R. Worthington, an Edgewood community leader, was the only speaker to praise Rehrmannand her managers. Worthington is the leader of a group of Edgewood residents who have set out to reduce crime and address other communityproblems.

"I'm also very pleased government has come to the people, but I'm displeased the people have not come to the government," said Worthington, referring to small audience sitting in Edgewood High School's large auditorium. "This place should be packed."

Worthington asked whether the county had plans to attract more clean industry, such as the Frito-Lay plant that will be built here. James Fielder,director of the county's Department of Economic Development, said Harford, unlike other counties, has had a receptive response from several companies, although he declined to name them.

In response to other questions, Rehrmann said the property tax rate will be held constant and that Parks and Recreation Department officials were working to resolve parents' objections to the dismissal of two coaches of a cheerleading squad.

Larry Klimovitz, county director of administration, explained the discrepancy between county charges for disposal of car tires, which are $1.50 each, and oversized tires, which cost $50:"We got 40,000 tires last month. It's very clear we've become a dumping ground for out-of-state tires. We have a two-year supply on hand to be burned at the waste-to-energy plant."

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