Filling a boating void Anne Arundel County: Fort Smallwood Park finally considered for public boat ramp.

March 11, 1996

AT LAST, there's some hope that Anne Arundel County residents may get another public boat ramp.

The county Department of Recreation and Parks is seeking a $92,000 allocation in the coming fiscal year's budget for the purpose. While that money would not be tied to any specific site, Fort Smallwood Park, just over the county line from Baltimore City, is the front runner. Having repeatedly urged the county to communicate with the city about using Fort Smallwood Park, we are pleased about this development.

The establishment of Fort Smallwood Park in Pasadena is an accident of history, one of a few municipal parks which is a good distance away from Baltimore City. But the site is an obvious choice for a public boat ramp. It is on the Patapsco River, which should lessen noise and nuisance impact on surrounding residential areas. And since a good network of roads leads to the park, traffic impact also should be negligible.

About the only reason planners did not zero in on Fort Smallwood Park earlier is that the city rejected previous feelers from Anne Arundel officials. But, then, in those prior contacts, the county wanted the city to finance the construction of a boat ramp. This time, Anne Arundel is ready to shell out some of its own money.

"We have had some detailed discussions with the city Department of Recreation and Parks about how we could cooperatively develop this site," said Jack Keene, county chief of recreational planning. "If we can reach a memorandum of understanding with the city and get all the necessary permits, we would hope to undertake the work in the next fiscal year."

The county and the city also have approached the state about getting some help with their development costs, the size of which have not yet been determined.

All this is promising. Boating is big in Anne Arundel and many residents have been complaining about the chronic shortage of public boat launches, particularly in North County.

The county is also looking for a possible boat ramp along a tributary in Curtis Bay. But from a practical viewpoint, Fort Smallwood Park offers the fastest way to address the complaints of county boaters. We urge residents to make their views known to the County Council.

Pub Date: 3/11/96

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