Residents to clean up neighborhood entrances EAST COLUMBIA

October 20, 1992|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Several Kings Contrivance village residents, upset with the way government is maintaining entrances to their Huntington neighborhood, are organizing an effort to clean the street islands for Saturday's Community Service Day.

"In the last two years, I've noticed a decline in the way the streets and islands have been maintained and it's disturbed me greatly," said Bernadette Drohan, a Huntington resident who is teaming up with Leigh Sorin to spearhead the project.

The goal is to do edging and planting around the five large islands that are gateways to the community -- two on Murray Hill Road and three on Vollmerhausen Road -- and clean debris.

Community Service Day is a day designated for civic activities statewide.

A number of Kings Contrivance residents have expressed concern about the "lack of shine" to their neighborhoods over the past few months, says a press release from the community association. There is a lack of weeding and "general maintenance" along the islands, the release says.

The Columbia Association maintains the street islands, with money from the county, which owns them, but budget woes meant lower budgets for the association this year. The Columbia Council did not approve financing for planting flowers at the entrance signs, but association crews mow the islands every two weeks, said Chick Rhodehamel, an ecologist with the association's open space division.

County Public Works Director James M. Irvin said money has been cut for edging and fertilizer and herbicide treatment because of a 15 percent to 20 percent reduction in the public works budget.

"We just don't have the resources to provide that kind of service," he said. "Unfortunately, we aren't likely to get it back in the near future."

Kings Contrivance village manager Anne L. Dodd said county and Columbia Association maintenance efforts don't meet residents' standards.

Mrs. Drohan said it appears that some areas of Columbia, particularly Town Center, are maintained better than others.

"You walk at Town Center and it's meticulously maintained; however, this is not what all of Columbia looks like," she said. "We who came here expected all of Columbia to be maintained in that manner.

"I'm very proud of Columbia, but I want to feel the same sense of pride when I come into my community. I don't want to just put on a persona for outsiders to draw them here."

As a former Realtor, Mrs. Drohan said she realizes that first impressions of a community can affect property values. She said cutting maintenance costs could lead to greater expenses in the future.

Mrs. Drohan emphasized that her goal is not to have residents assume permanent responsibility for maintenance.

"The less you demand of government, the less they'll give you, and money will go to other areas," she said, mentioning CA's proposed $5.5 million Fairway Hills golf course.

"People should take a more active part in county government. When they see something that bothers them, they should call about it. If people play dead, that's exactly how they'll be treated."

* Owen Brown village has organized an activity for Community Service Day. The village's Open Space Committee will sponsor a cleanup of Grace Pond and Lake Elkhorn. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the dock at Lake Elkhorn.

* Cub Scout Pack 838 from Thunder Hill Elementary School in Oakland Mills will clean the open space in the Thunder Hill neighborhood for its Community Service Day project.

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