Severna Park residents are trying to get Kinder Park back on the county's burner -- if only the back burner.
Eleven years ago the county broke ground on the park, a 237-acre farm planned to include nature trails, picnic areas and pavilions.
Money for big parks projects dried up in the 1980s, and the plansfor the Severna Park/Millersville park have never fully materialized.
But the Greater Severna Park Council hopes to push the park backonto the county's agenda, said Pat Troy, council president.
"We're asking the county to put funding in the '93 budget to review and revise the Kinder Park master plan," she said, after the council recently voted on the matter.
Ted Cheffey, chairman of the council's recreation and parks committee, is drafting a letter to send to the County Council. The Severna Park council is only requesting an opportunity for comment, said Cheffey, but the process needs to get started.
"They may not be able to do anything in the upcoming fiscal year, but it's a matter of beginning the process to get an updated activity and to use the opportunity that Kinder Park provides," he said.
Although the county has "done some things with the park", Troy said, "there are lots of empty fields, and the full potential of the park has never been realized."
Cheffey said residents and nature-lovers must pressure parks officials into devising a long-term plan for the property. Otherwise, he said, they may lose parkland to non-recreationalpurposes.
"There's always a hazard when there's a void, when nothing measurably is going on," he said.
"I'm concerned we're gonna wake up some day and the property will be used for 150 different things (other) than its original intended use, Cheffey said. "I think thisconcern is shared by the parks department."
The master plan included what is now the 40-acre Harvey Garcelon Sports Complex, but abouttwo-thirds of the land is undeveloped, Cheffey said. Many of the oldbarns are in ruins and "No Trespassing" signs block access to much of the land.
County Parks Director Joseph McCann said the county's economic problems will undoubtedly block action on the park in the next few years.
"I don't see the county getting very serious about any additional park facilities on the property until the economy improves," he said.
"But I think Severna Park citizens are being smart to ask the county administration to do another master plan. Whether we can do it this particular budget is questionable, but if not this year, next year.
"It's smart to think about recreational needs for the next 10 years -- which is what we're talking about," he added.
McCann said Parks and Recreation has tried to keep close watch on the property, which citizens use for hiking, fishing and bird-watching.The department wishes to manage the land responsibly as a resource, he said. For example, American kestrels, small falcons, have been drawn by adding nesting boxes for the birds.
However, if the present recreational activities become too popular, people will start demanding more amenities such as roads, parking and bathrooms, McCann said.
"We're not trying to be difficult; we're just in no position to provide those things," McCann said.
Troy adds that to get any actionon the park, even years from now, Severna Park needs to "get money in the budget now for revision of the master plan.
"This is the time for us to go ahead with our request," she said. "We're not talking specifics yet, we just want it in the works so the development process can start again.
"It's there; we hope to be able to use it fully," Troy said.