Glen Burnie bank turns its front yard into 'pocket park' and gateway to town GLEN BURNIE


August 11, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

A small park with a fountain, designed to create an inviting spot to dawdle as well as a visual gateway to downtown Glen Burnie, should be built by the end of October.

The "pocket park" -- so called for its size and the notch it forms -- is under construction at Second Avenue and South Crain Highway on a torn up parcel in front of the Bank of Glen Burnie offices.

The property, owned by the bank and Anne Arundel County, was the site of the home and office of the late dentist Henry Walter.

Creating the park was the bank's idea. But the county owns a strip of ground about 20 feet wide along Second Avenue. The bank obtained an easement from the county to incorporate the approximately 300 square feet into the park. The park is 60 feet by 60 feet.

"The intent of it is to dress up the area," said Henry Hein, chairman of the board of the Bank of Glen Burnie. "This is a beginning, an entrance to the Glen Burnie area, a gateway."

The idea, he said, is to signal to passers-by that they are entering a town center, that they should slow down and look around.

Mr. Hein, chairman of the Glen Burnie Urban Renewal Advisory Committee, said the park is being constructed under urban renewal guidelines although it is just outside the renewal district boundaries.

Landscape architect Charles Brenton, owner of Brenton & Associates in Glen Burnie, said he designed the park with its relationship to the community in mind. Similar parks dot New York City,

where large buildings have small urban parks that face the street and are open to the public.

Mr. Brenton's mission was to create a passive setting where people could pause while waiting for the bus across the street, read or relax during a walk, but make it eye-catching.

"We pulled the park out into the public right-of-way," Mr. Brenton said. "What makes it a gateway is its relatedness to Crain Highway."

The dominant feature, the fountain that will recycle water and can be lighted at night, is near the corner. It will be clearly visible from Crain Highway, and surrounded by a brick plaza.

Hollies, day lilies, azaleas, yews, black-eyed Susans and other traditional, low-maintenance plants will

frame the landscape. Three oak trees will provide shade as well as give the park a vertical feature, Mr. Brenton said.

Brick pavement blocks will mirror the brick in nearby Colonial- and Georgian-style buildings. Additionally, a zig-zagging seating wall -- a chunky, thigh-high wall deep enough to sit on -- will be constructed of brick with limestone coping.

The bank is spending about $90,000 on the park, with NSC Construction Co. of Baltimore doing the work.

"It's a lot, but it's a major improvement," Mr. Hein said. The project has drawn praise from county officials, who said they support the cooperative efforts that are going into community improvement.

The bank is landscaping the rest of the site with grass and a variety of perennials, shrubs and trees.

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