Councilwoman wants to smooth over controversy

September 02, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

County Councilwoman Diane R. Evans wants to soothe the anger caused by construction of the new Severn River Bridge by selling bricks engraved with donors' names to pave the remains of the old bridge when it is converted to a fishing pier.

"I needn't remind anyone of the bitter controversy that has surrounded the building of the new bridge," the Arnold Republican said yesterday at a news conference at the scenic overlook on the north shore of the river.

"But I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that the time has come for healing. As the end of an era approaches with the new bridge nearing completion and the State Highway Administration poised to demolish all but 300 feet of the old, we have a unique opportunity."

Profits from the brick sales would be donated to the nonprofit Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, she said.

The idea is one of several that will be addressed by a committee Ms. Evans has formed to study what can be done to improve the 300 feet of the old bridge that will be left and Jonas Green State Park, which is next to the bridge.

She presented a symbolic first brick to Councilwoman Maureen Lamb for leading "the valiant opposition against the building of -- the new bridge."

Ms. Evans said she envisioned the refurbished pier being used for art exhibits and summer concerts in addition to crabbing and fishing. She also suggested commissioning a local artist to draw a special edition poster of the old bridge, the new bridge, or a combination of the two.

Ms. Evans said she expects at least some of these ideas to be implemented within the next several months.

James O'Farrell, a member of the committee, said it is important for the community to act early in order to have some say over what will be done with the old bridge.

"In a sense, I think if we don't do something, we're going to be given something we don't like," said Mr. O'Farrell, who was a staunch opponent of the new bridge. "So why not take the old bridge, bring it up to standard and make it something nice that everyone will use?"

The bricks will be made by a local brick maker and engraved with either a donor's name or as a memorial before they are placed on the bridge. No price has been set, but "I don't want this to be out of reach for the average person," Ms. Evans said.

A similar project at the Baltimore Zoo charges $30 for a 4-by-8-inch brick and $150 for an 8-by-8-inch brick.

George C. Shenk Jr., president of the Cultural Arts Foundation, welcomed the potential new source of money.

"We feel very strongly that this is not only going to be a great funding mechanism, but it's going to a great place. It's going to our kids, and it's going to our community," Mr. Shenk said.

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