Site for rec center is Dec. 7 topic

November 25, 1993|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Staff Writer

North County residents trying to establish a recreation center near Baltimore-Washington International Airport have scheduled a meeting for Dec. 7 to discuss the state's offer of land near BWI's northern end.

While no promises have been made, state transportation officials have indicated that the property could become available if proponents can get the approval of the state Board of Public Works and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Airport officials must have some idea of the facility's layout, type of noise-abatement construction that would be used, construction schedule and funding plan, said BWI spokeswoman Adrienne Walker-Pittman, adding that no land has changed hands yet and no leases have been drawn up.

Ferndale resident Lewis F. Holmes approached the airport with the idea in 1991.

"It's badly needed," Mr. Holmes said of the center.

In May of that year, state Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer wrote to Mr. Holmes, saying that a parcel of land near BWI's northern end could be made available for such a facility.

Since then, the economy has slowed and volunteers have struggled to design plans for the center, said Mr. Holmes, who suffered a stroke in March 1993.

Those factors conspired to slow the push for a recreation center, but Mr. Holmes said that he is optimistic the time is right to get the project back on track.

The plans were drawn up by architect Jack Symes, who donated his time.

The 86,000-square-foot center would include an indoor swimming pool, four basketball courts, two handball courts and an indoor track, said Barb Rush, a Ferndale resident who is working with Mr. Holmes.

Rough estimates from builders put the cost of the center at about $6 million, Ms. Rush said.

An informational meeting, under the auspices of the Ferndale-Linthicum Community Association, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Linthicum Library on Hammonds Ferry Road.

"It's a pretty ambitious undertaking. It's in an embryo stage and it has a pretty long way to go," said state Sen. Michael Wagner, a Ferndale Democrat.

The project would require businesses, individuals, civic groups and the government to work together, the senator said.

Someone would be needed to manage the center once it got off the ground, Senator Wagner said.

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