Protect our parklandFrom: James MartinPresidentSevern...

Readers write

August 02, 1992

Protect our parkland

From: James Martin


Severn River Association

Since 1989, the Severn River Association has followed with keen interest the disposition of excessed land at Fort Meade in western Anne Arundel County.

The Fort Meade Coordinating Council, appointed by the Anne Arundel county executive, after carefully reviewing all proposals, including one for a 500-acre county park from the Anne Arundel county chairman, recommended in 1990 transferring all 9,000 acres to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Refuge.

After an initial 7,600 acres was approved by Congress for transfer, County Executive [Robert R.] Neall appeared in 1991 before the Coordinating Council to request that some 500 acres of the remaining 1,400 acres be taken by Anne Arundel County for development as a recreational park.

The Coordinating Council again rejected this concept because of the environmental sensitivity of the parcel west of Bald Eagle Drive, and reiterated its recommendation to transfer this additional acreage to U.S. Fish and Wildlife. This was subsequently approved by Congress and is to be completed this summer.

More recently, a West County Park Committee was established on recommendation of the Coordinating Council, composed of citizens, environmental and civic leaders, and members of the Anne Arundel County Recreation Advisory Board, to investigate all potential sites for recreational and park needs of this growing part of our county.

Last month, their report was released, recommending no development of any U.S. Fish and Wildlife acreage. They pointed to an excess of 1,000 acres, both privately and publicly owned, in Western County that would be more appropriate for such use.

In particular, the committee cited a 150-acre parcel in the eastern end of the remaining excessed Fort Meade land (Area C) which might well serve as appropriate site for a county recreational site. It is important that our county executive understand that time is of the essence with respect to this remaining Fort Meade land, and that the committee recommended "prompt action prior to September 1992."

On behalf of our 107 constituent civic organizations, the Severn River Association voted at its July 21, 1992, meeting to call on County Executive Neall to:

1. Stop wasting time and money on any ill-advised effort to develop any acreage of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Patuxent Wildlife Refuge and Research Center.

2. Immediately initiate negotiations with the Army (Gerald F. Bresee, Supervisor Realty Specialty, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, P.O. Box 175, Baltimore, Md. 21203; 410-962-3550) to assess availability and appropriateness of any of the remaining 900 acres of excessed Fort Meade land for transfer to Anne Arundel County for use as a county park.

3. Actively pursue all other recommendations of the West County Parks Committee from their report of June 1992.

4. Take appropriate steps to amend the County Adequate Facilities ordinance to require developers to set aside sufficient land for both preservation and passive use, as well as active recreational use by new residents.

It is our firm conviction that the 8,100 acres of Fort Meade land that has been transferred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Patuxent Wildlife Refuge is the closest thing our county has to a national park and should be rigorously protected from any attempt at development, be it private or public.

Another parent's view

From: Steve Segraves


I am a member of that small group of unethical parents with their own agenda to which the author of "In defense of principal" refers in her letter to you of July 22, 1992. A response to that letter would be appropriate.

1. I have not heard a single parent call for the termination, punishment, or even the transfer of Mr. Shubert. That very point was made at the July 7 meeting referred to in "In defense."

The decision to transfer Mr. Shubert was made by the Board of Education, possibly at his request. If a "small group of parents with their own agenda" caused the BOE to transfer a principal, that does not speak well of the process. One of the issues that concerned parents from Millersville, Brock Bridge, and other communities are addressing is the transfer/assignment of school administrators without adequate input from the entire community.

2. The July 7 meeting was not a general PTA meeting, but a meeting for concerned members of the community to exchange information and discuss issues of concern for our school that had arisen over the past few weeks, to include the unexpected transfer of Mr. Shubert.

All this was explained at the beginning of this public meeting (no one was turned away, including a reporter for the Sun). One would think a "small group of parents with their own agenda" would have been better served having their meeting at a parent's home.

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