Officials check out vacant library to give Pikesville a police presence BALTIMORE COUNTY

April 24, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

A small library in Pikesville that was closed because of budget pressures will soon become a satellite office for Baltimore County police officers, if the county can agree on a lease with the landlords.

The office, called a Crime Prevention and Community Policing Bureau, will be located at the Greenspring Shopping Center on Smith Avenue and will house 15 Police Department employees, including crime prevention officers, Community Oriented Police Enforcement (COPE) officers and civilian workers. The site was the home of the Wellwood library.

The office also will be home base for an officer who will patrol the surrounding residential neighborhood, either on foot or on a bicycle. The office will not be a full-fledged police substation and will not have a place for prisoners.

"We'll have a presence," said County Executive Roger B. Hayden, adding that officers who have relatives in the area have said people are "ecstatic" about the decision.

Mr. Hayden also said the move should ease crowding at the old police headquarters and help address the public's fear of crime. The office will be open Monday through Saturday. Community crime meetings will be held at the office during the evenings.

Mr. Hayden will formally announce the plan tomorrow before convening a community crime forum at the Pikesville Senior Center, 1301 Reisterstown Road. The forum is one of eight Mr. Hayden is holding around the county through Nov. 20.

Even though the county has its plans for the space, it still must reach an agreement with the landlords. Current lease restrictions say the space can be used only for a library. The lease also says the landlord can double the rent if the county vacates the space before the lease terminates in September 1995.

The county has been paying about $3,000 a month to rent the 2,127-square-foot office, which was emptied of library books in mid-February.

So far, county officials have not received a bill for double rent and are hopeful Brooks and Goldman Realty will let the police use the space. Daniel Goldman, one of the firm's principals, said the county had informed him of its intentions but said "the landlord has not formally approved the change."

Last week, Robert Goldman (no relation), president of the Smith-Greenspring Improvement Association, met with Mr. Hayden and urged him to put library materials and computers in the empty office.

Yesterday, Mr. Goldman said a police office "would be great. But it's not the same as a library. We want the library back."

The Wellwood library was one of nine libraries Mr. Hayden closed to ease budgetary pressures brought on by the recession and two years of massive state cuts. Four senior centers and two health centers also were closed and more than 300 county workers were laid off.

The county has moved to fill some county-owned space left vacant by the closings. For example, the Loch Raven library, the only full-size branch to be closed, will house the Towson health center starting July 1. The health center is now in rented space several miles from the library.

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