Builder provides polling place after Pikesville site reserved for Purim

February 08, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A Jewish holiday that coincides this year with Maryland's presidential primary threatened to leave some Pikesville voters without a polling place, but a local builder has saved the day.

The problem arose at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College on Mount Wilson Lane, where the Purim holiday celebrating Esther's courage in saving her people from the machinations of the Persian court minister Haman took precedence over the March 5 election.

The college is the polling place for the 3rd Election District's 11th Precinct, which has been moved twice since 1990. Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger, assistant to the college's president, said the institution did not have time to plan for the simultaneous events.

County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, a Pikesville Democrat, helped find a solution with the help of construction magnate Willard Hackerman.

Mr. Hackerman's Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is donating two large, heated construction trailers, complete with access ramps for the disabled, to accommodate voters at a county park next to the college campus.

The trailers will sit at the county-owned Woodholme Elementary School site, which houses two lighted ball fields, a large parking lot and permanent restrooms. One trailer will be used as a waiting area, while the other will hold the voting booths and tabulating machine, Mr. Kamenetz said.

The county used a second-floor room at the nearby North Oaks Retirement Community as a polling place in 1994, but voters complained about parking problems and lack of access to elevators in the building. Rabbi Neuberger said the November general election will not pose a problem, and the trailers will not be needed.

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