Crownsville residents plan protest of jail site CENTRAL COUNTY -- Arnold * Broadneck * Crownsville

October 28, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

A group of Crownsville residents opposed to the selection of a site near their homes for a new county jail is organizing a protest tonight when a task force is to make its final recommendation to the county executive.

Susan Litzau, who lives across Crownsville Road from the Fischer property, one of several the task force is considering for the 650-bed jail, said she has collected 1,000 signatures from nearby residents on a petition opposing the site.

The site off state Route 178 overlaps property the Renaissance Festival leases from the Fischer family. Mrs. Litzau said she is "concerned that the festival would not stay if the jail is built there."

Jules Smith, the festival's general manager, confirmed that he might move the festival elsewhere "unless I can work something out" with county officials should they buy the property.

Mr. Smith said his lease with the Fischers allows him to expand his operation, and locating the jail nearby would limit him.

"This could reduce my growth and as a business person, I'm not into negative growth," he said.

Moreover, the festival generates money -- $200,000 in admission and amusement taxes this year, he said -- for county coffers.

Mrs. Litzau also complained that the Detention Center Siting and Alternatives Sentencing Task Force has been studying potential sites for the jail since September, but never mentioned the Fischer property until it appeared in a newspaper article Oct. 6.

"It was buried in the newspaper and we were never told by the county that this property was being considered," she said.

Community leaders in other parts of the county where sites were under consideration were notified in plenty of time to organize a protest, she said.

"We went to the meeting last week and started passing out petitions to people on Friday," she said.

Last Wednesday, an emotional crowd of more than 1,000 jammed the Glen Burnie High School auditorium for a public hearing to loudly object to proposed jail sites in their neighborhoods.

Besides the Crownsville site, the task force has considered the former Schramm's Turkey Farm in Pasadena, 132 acres on Veterans Highway near county police headquarters and a 263-acre parcel along River Road in South County.

The task force rejected an 85-acre site on Ordnance Road favored by County Executive Robert R. Neall.

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