Commercial growth is top topic for Greater Severna Park Council retreat ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY BUSINESS

April 01, 1993|By Angela Winter Ney | Angela Winter Ney,Staff Writer

The Greater Severna Park Council is convening its first-ever planning retreat this month, and high on its list of topics will be the kind of commercial growth Severna Park residents want for their community.

Council leaders, when they meet April 17 on the Eastern Shore, will base much of their discussion on the results of a survey commissioned by the council last year.

The 930 questionnaires returned by area residents give council members "something other than our own perceptions" of what Severna Park should be like in the future, said Don Nataf, chairman of the council's public works committee.

One survey question allowed respondents to list commercial services they wanted to see. The wish list included a theater in Severna Park, a walk-in medical center and a plaza with refreshment stands along the Baltimore-Annapolis walking trail.

Some fancied a pump-out station for boaters.

Others yearned for a good bakery, a teen-age nightclub, a laundromat and a hotel.

Several questionnaires mentioned the need for more entertainment facilities but also mentioned a concern about where they would be built.

Although the idea of a town or community center is often bandied about, many respondents to the survey supported the idea cautiously. And others said the community had already grown too big; they don't want anything added.

President Pat Troy said the council itself has noticed the need for one service that doesn't exist in Severna Park -- an all-night restaurant.

"One night our board decided to go out after a council meeting because most had not had any dinner. We never found any dinner," she said.

While bars serving alcohol stay open late, no establishments also offer food at late hours.

But while the suggestions are interesting, said Ms. Troy, the survey is not a statistically reliable sample of the entire community.

What the community needs, Ms. Troy said, is market research to more precisely evaluate the needs and wants of Severna Park residents. But such research is expensive and probably not the council's responsibility, she said.

But the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce can refer suggestions to business people, said Linda Zahn, executive director of the chamber.

The chamber also is reviewing the survey results.

"We want to find out what the people of Severna Park really think they need," said Ms. Zahn, who plans to attend the retreat.

Other community leaders invited to the daylong retreat might also have suggestions on how the council can plan ahead for the type and amount of growth the community wants, Ms. Troy said.

"This meeting is an attempt to be more pro-active instead of reactive," she said.

"That's an old idea, but it's important for us."

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