Grant ever awarded the Baltimore Museum of Art...

THE LARGEST

November 24, 1995

THE LARGEST grant ever awarded the Baltimore Museum of Art for education and community outreach should go a long way toward making more inner-city families routine visitors.

The $1.18 million grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund will be used to increase museum activities for African-American visitors, particularly those who live within the high-poverty empowerment zone; run an "art shuttle" to transport youth groups to the museum; offer workshops for parents and grandparents to create art with their children, and work with local community organizations and the African-American business community to develop arts programs.

It is important that the people who live near the museum make it as much a part of their lives as those who travel long distances to appreciate what it has to offer.

AMTRAK'S 94-YEAR-OLD Penn Station is a key gateway to Baltimore, both for out-of-towners and commuters. But even after recent improvements, it still isn't a very welcoming place.

A $125-a-ticket, black-tie celebration will be held at the station Dec. 2 to raise money for a $1 million plan to create a visitors center, new shops and eateries there. "Our goal is to make the station a destination and an attraction in and of itself," explains Mary Sue McCarthy, executive director of the Mayor's Commission on Tourism, Entertainment and Culture.

It is unlikely that Penn Station will ever hold a candle to the magnificent Union Station in Washington, D.C. But we support all efforts to upgrade this Baltimore landmark and make visitors feel welcome the moment they arrive here. A friendlier Penn Station might also help efforts to rejuvenate nearby neigborhoods.

BALTIMORE COUNTY will soon have a new park and wildlife preserve, located next to a sand and gravel quarry near Cockeysville.

It's one of the developments by Genstar Stone Products of the mining firm's extensive land holdings in the state.

Limestone Valley Park was created from 35 acres of a long-idled dolomite sand quarry on Genstar's property. A landscape design competition among students of two state universities produced a design plan for the property, which was unveiled this month

The company will use the park, which has ponds, recreation fields, nature trails and a pavilion, for its own functions. But nonprofit groups and schools can schedule events there by next spring.

The park landscape, much of which has been replanted with trees and grasses, displays its origins: high mounds of mined white dolomite separate the area from active mining operations, the deep blue-green water in the ponds takes its color from suspended limestone particles. A gazebo will feature information the natural surroundings, geology and mining.

The park is a welcome community resource, using land that is too often left dormant with little economic incentive for reclamation.

Kudos to Genstar and its employees for this achievement.

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