County to begin designing Glenwood community center WEST COUNTY -- Clarksville * Highland * Glenelg * Lisbon

August 12, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

In a few years, west county residents may be able to experience one of the joys of living in Columbia -- having a neighborhood center.

The unincorporated city has 14 of them, built and run by the nonprofit Columbia Association. The county operates one, the Roger Carter Neighborhood Center in Ellicott City, and a second is now being planned for Glenwood.

"There is nothing like this in the western part of the county," said Johanna Baldwin, 78, who has lived in Glenwood for 40 years and served on a committee to help plan the center.

The committee, which included Glenwood residents and representatives of county recreational groups, met in June and October 1992 and again this June to recommend programs and a concept for the facility. With the committee's work complete, county Department of Recreation and Parks planners will begin work on designing the building.

The program list includes many recreational activities in addition to preschool and child care programs, activities for senior citizens, private rentals and community meetings.

The building, now tentatively planned to be built on the 20-acre Glenwood Park between the parking lot and Route 97, would include a gymnasium, conference rooms, a kitchen and locker rooms, said A. Raul Delerme, the parks planner who is coordinating the project.

Construction on the center, budgeted for $3 million, could begin as early as the summer of 1997 and be completed within a year.

One of the advantages the center would bring to the west county would be a place for senior citizens to eat county-provided meals, said Mrs. Baldwin, who is one of two west county representatives to the county's Commission on Aging.

Other activities recommended for the center would be similar to those found at Columbia neighborhood centers, such as aerobics and fitness programs, dance classes, cooking classes and programs dealing with music, drama, painting and photography.

Mr. Delerme said that because the center's construction is a few years away, planners will need to reassess the community's needs before deciding what programs to offer.

Some Glenwood residents working on the project are concerned that the site, sandwiched between Bushy Park Elementary School and Carrs Mill Road, is too small to house the building and its required parking, said Bob Buckler, president of the Warfield Estates Citizens Association and a member of the committee.

Of particular concern is that one of the two existing soccer fields will have to be sacrificed to make room for the building. That would be difficult for the growing Western Howard County Youth Soccer League, Mr. Buckler said.

"The general feeling is to put as many services as they want to put there, it would be better to put it on another site," he said.

Another site may be available across Carrs Mill Road, but it is uncertain whether the county will be able to acquire it, said Gary Arthur, acting Recreation and Parks Department director.

Mr. Buckler, who also represents members of the soccer league, said the acquisition was a "much more preferable way to go."

"We certainly would like to see more fields available through the Department of Recreation and Parks, rather than to have to negotiate with the schools," Mr. Buckler said. School fields are more difficult to maintain and soccer teams must compete with other teams for playing time, he said.

Mr. Delerme said there is a chance the parkland could be rearranged to make room for the building and the current soccer fields and baseball diamond.

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