Improvements in southwestern Balto. Co. touted Ruppersberger seeks to attract business, jobs

September 03, 1997|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Hoping to attract grass-roots support for communities in Baltimore County's southwestern triangle, County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger touted yesterday the $46 million in improvements his administration is making there, including new tot lots, repaved roads and repairs to public water fountains.

Ruppersberger's meeting with community leaders and county officials was billed as a progress report. It reflected work started during the first half of the executive's term in office, which began in December 1994.

A second meeting focusing on improvements to the eastern portion of the county is planned for tomorrow.

Among southwestern projects Ruppersberger discussed yesterday were $2.3 million for resurfacing 39 miles of roads, $120,000 to spruce up playgrounds and an $11 million addition to Catonsville High School. All are under way.

Curb and gutter repairs in 45 locations were detailed, and Parks and Recreation officials noted that six area recreation councils attracted 7,800 volunteers and 35,000 other people last year to participate in events.

The executive said investment by the county government in communities such as Relay, Arbutus and Catonsville would spark interest by prospective businesses and attract jobs and homeowners.

"We are going to where the needs are in the older areas," Ruppersberger said. "We need to generate revenues to help the older neighborhoods."

Ruppersberger invited nearly 50 community leaders and officials to volunteer Oct. 17-19 and help spruce up neighborhoods around the county during his "Pitch In For Progress" cleanup campaign. That could include such things as graffiti removal, trash pickup and painting park benches.

"This is a team approach," he said. "Government cannot do it alone."

The county executive's message got a warm reception from many in the room.

The Rev. Joyce D. Dillard of the Upper Room church on Roberts Avenue in Catonsville Heights said the members of her interdenominational church were pleased with such improvements as new sidewalks and storm gutters.

"Flooding in the area has ceased," Dillard said. "It enhances the neighborhood and encourages people there."

Ed Hardester, president of the Relay Improvement Association, labeled the meeting a success.

"I think that it's needed to have these exchanges," Hardester said. "It showed the types of things we need to see. It shows us that our government's at work, and we can go back and share this with our community association."

Pub Date: 9/03/97

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