Residents Plot Course For Odenton

January 22, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

Last month, a group of Odenton residents gathered in a church to talk about building the ideal hometown.

Some wanted a quiet retirement village. Others wanted a transportation hub. Still others wanted tosee a better pedestrian walkway system.

Tonight, the residents will be asked their thoughts on four central questions that came out of the last discussion:

* Should Odenton become a bedroom community or a full-service community, with churches, recreation areas and businesses?

* What should Odenton look like?

* Should Odenton, with its MARC train station and proximity toBWI airport, become a transportation center for the county?

* What types of businesses does the Odenton area need?

Participants at tonight's meeting will examine how close Odenton is to fulfilling those dreams.

"We want to go over what seems to be helping us get there and what seems to be inhibiting us," said Bruce Galloway, a consultant hired by the county to lead the process.

The town center committee, made up of residents, builders, business owners and county planners, has been meeting since April to draft rules for developers whowant to build in the 218-acre town center and its periphery.

As envisioned by developers and some county officials, Odenton would become the county's third town center, after Glen Burnie and Parole.

The choice of location has not been without controversy. Some residents would be happier if downtown Odenton was built around the shopping center on Route 175 or the historic main street rather than the land designated by the county at the intersection of routes 32 and 175.

Other residents have questioned how developers will integrate new buildings -- such as movie theaters, high-rise offices and shopping malls -- with the historic look of Odenton, whose train station and homes date to the 1800s.

Trains, which brought troops to nearby Fort Meade and residents to Odenton, also figure in the shaping of a new town center.

Commuters delight in the easy access to Baltimore and Washington provided by the MARC system. But those same trains make thecommunity attractive to newcomers, and there are fears that Odenton will grow too fast.

Galloway said that people at last month's meeting seemed to want to preserve the transportation access to the community while not "necessarily providing great access to the rest of theregion."

Appearance also was a major issue, from the number of trees that need to be planted to the building of sidewalks throughout the community.

The last of the four issues is the economy: What should the town center become?

"What we need are more ideas in the framework of this four-point issue," Galloway said. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Nichols-Bethel Church in Odenton.

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