Gary wants to use more county lots to revive downtown Meanwhile, plans for new town center are moving forward

November 29, 1995|By Tanya Jones and Andrea F. Siegel | Tanya Jones and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

With plans for the Glen Burnie Town Center moving forward, County Executive John G. Gary is already talking about using more county-owned lots to revive the area's downtown.

"I'd like to have a phase two of town center," he said last week. "We have a whole section up there that we own."

A 5.56-acre parking lot the county owns next to Arundel Center North -- where the Glen Burnie Town Center would be located -- is slated for residential and retail development with an ice rink or area for the performing arts. It is the county's last parcel in the Glen Burnie Urban Renewal District.

The county also owns four lots along the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail Park between Platzer and Oak lanes, about two blocks from Arundel Center North and the planned town center site.

A privately owned block bounded by Crain Highway, Central Avenue, A Street and First Avenue is zoned for additional town center development, though it is outside the urban renewal district regulated by the county, according to Patricia Barland, Human Services program administrator and overseer of the town center project.

Gene Floyd, former Glen Burnie urban renewal director and owner of a Glen Burnie shopping center, has high hopes for the benefits a Glen Burnie Town Center would bring to the area. He is less optimistic about expanding development beyond the town center.

"There is so much out on the market that is vacant," he said.

Lisa Ritter, a spokesman for Mr. Gary, said a second phase of Glen Burnie town center development is just an idea. The main task is developing the large, county-owned parcel, she said.

After years of delay and near-starts, the county is one step away from approving final development plans for the new town center.

Earlier this month, the county chose two Baltimore firms, Six C/D Associates and Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse, an investment partnership and a developer, to draw up detailed plans for the area.

Once known as Superblock, the vacant area is seen as a space that could revive downtown Glen Burnie, if properly developed.

The Arundel Center North, which anchors the space for the proposed Glen Burnie Town Center, holds some satellite county offices and is being turned over to Anne Arundel Community College.

Though the original urban renewal plan was approved by the County Council in 1980, the parcel has remained vacant for more than a decade as different ideas came and went. One idea called for all commercial development; another idea suggested a performing arts pavilion with lawn seating.

Mr. Gary made completing the town center a goal of his administration. Redeveloping older areas makes sense, he said, because roads and other infrastructure are in place, making development less costly than starting anew.

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