Brooklyn Park leaders seek revival of umbrella group to deal with social problems Idea will be subject of meeting on Thursday

April 06, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Brooklyn Park leaders and residents are talking about reviving an umbrella neighborhood association that folded 10 years ago for a united campaign against the community's massive problems: crime, drugs, prostitution, absentee landlords and vacant storefronts.

Merchants, residents, civic leaders, county police officers and government officials will discuss those problems Thursday at a meeting sponsored by the Arundel Improvement Association.

The association is spearheading the effort to bring together the handful of independent community groups that operated in Brooklyn Park.

"It's been a gradual eroding of the community, and something has to be done about it," said Frances Jones, president of the association. "There's nothing but dilapidated buildings" along Ritchie Highway.

Brooklyn Park, a northern Anne Arundel neighborhood of red-brick rowhouses and single-family houses, is just south of the Baltimore line, and its problems resemble those of the city.

State Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Brooklyn Park Democrat, said he believes reviving the Brooklyn Park Council, which folded 10 years ago, would unite all the area's community activists in a powerful way.

Albert Bowen, vice president of the Olde Brooklyn Park Improvement Association, is frustrated by the problems facing a community that he has lived in since 1948. He said residents must work better with police and government.

"Sometimes you've got to get out of the chair and do something," Bowen said. "That's my stand. It's up to the individual to do something, too."

Brooklyn Park residents are concerned about the image others have of their community.

It has problems, similar to those of other neighborhoods, but there is good with the bad, they said.

"I think the people are upset in the area that you pick up the newspaper and see a lot of Brooklyn Park crime," Jimeno said. "It's all over the county."

Jimeno would like to see community block watches and patrols organized.

And he said that although absentee landlords have homes scattered throughout neighborhoods on the east side of Ritchie Highway, they represent a small part of the Brooklyn Park.

But they anger residents just the same.

"They're just in it for the money," Bowen said. "These buildings are tax write-offs."

And in the end, he said, "It's the homeowner who takes the brunt."

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Arundel Improvement Association hall, 705 Cross St.

Pub Date: 4/06/97

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