Group To Lobby For Pavilion On Glen Burnie 'Superblock'

April 24, 1992|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff writer

The big top may be coming to Glen Burnie, but it's not the circus.

A committee formed last month to develop an "interim" plan for GlenBurnie's Superblock is pushing for a large outdoor pavilion to be built just north of the county's Arundel Center North.

The pavilion project, which would cost about $100,000, would be used for Glen Burnie's summer concert series and other outdoor events,such as theater, craft shows and square dances.

The seven-member Glen Burnie Cultural Arts Pavilion Committee, which first met last month, decided yesterday to request money for the project in next year's capital improvements budget.

County Councilman Edward C. Middlebrooks, a Severn Democrat who represents Glen Burnie, started pushing the pavilion idea nearly a year ago. He said it's needed to attract people and prospective developers to the area.

The site -- 5 1/2 acres north and east of Arundel Center North -- is badly in need of a face lift, Middlebrooks said.

"What bothers me now about this wholearea is the way it looks," said Middlebrooks.

Using county staff for guidance and an architect retained by county government, the pavilion committee is now armed with plans and drawings to hit the traveling budget show next month to plead its case.

Committee members will bring their plans and testify on behalf of the project during budget hearings at Old Mill High School on May 11 and the Arundel Center in Annapolis on May 13. They also plan to write letters to the countyexecutive and County Council members asking for money for the project.

Although committee member Lois Gross urged the group to keep the plans bare-bones in these fiscally trying times, Middlebrooks told the group to ask for what they need to make the project a success.

"We don't want it to be second-class," Middlebrooks said. "We don't want to play second fiddle" to other community projects.

The committee will recommend at least two options for operating and maintaining the pavilion and surrounding grounds once its built -- either turning it over to a private operator or having the county run it.

The Superblock parcel, where the structure would be built, was to have been developed years ago as a 200,000-square-foot office and retail space with an adjoining parking garage.

But ever since plans were drawn up for an urban renewal area in downtown Glen Burnie in the late 1970s, interest in the site from developers has been scant.

County planners from the Urban Renewal office, which comes under the Division of Housing and Community Development, said they do not expect to find a developer for the parcel for at least five to seven years.

With this gloomy development forecast, committee members said the county might as well use the site in the meantime to benefit the community.

Now, a plant and tree sales company and a flea market operator lease space on the site from the county on a temporary basis and the rest is used for parking. Committee members said they believe the two temporary users could coexist with the pavilion, since the tent wouldonly take up about one-third of the site.

The pavilion and adjacent seating area for up to 500 patrons would take up many parking spaces during events (patrons would bring their own lawn chairs). But committee members think there would still be enough parking on the parcel and in the nearby parking garage, located across Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, to accommodate even the largest crowds anticipated.

If funding for the project is approved this year, landscaping and preparation of the site could start as early as this summer. The pavilionwould be ready for events next spring, said architect John Brunnett,who prepared the schematic drawings.

Should a developer be found for Superblock, members said, the pavilion could be moved elsewhere in Glen Burnie or the county and continue to be used.

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