Proposals for park in Hampstead criticized Some say plans lack facilities for tots, families

September 10, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Residents of the North Carroll Farms IV development in Hampstead say that a proposed town park near their community would create security and traffic problems and wouldn't offer enough facilities for small children or families.

But park supporters argue that the recreational facilities are desperately needed in the town, which has seen rapid growth over the past decade.

A public hearing last night before the Hampstead Town Council on two plans for the park drew about 35 people to the Town Hall, most of them nearby homeowners.

The park would be located on a 6.6-acre site off Upper Forde Lane. Local developer Martin K. P. Hill donated the site to the town as part of an agreement to provide the required amount of open space for North Carroll Farms IV.

One plan for the park includes a softball field and a park for skateboarders and in-line skaters. The other proposal includes two softball fields. There were no cost estimates for either plan.

"I think one ball field proposal is bad and two is preposterous," said James Cannon, who told council members that he moved to Hampstead from Harford County to escape rampant development.

Chuck Conray, president of the Hampstead Lions Baseball and Softball Association, said that the town desperately needs more athletic fields.

"Basically, we're saying to our kids, we don't want any facilities, just go away," said Conray. "When kids are in organized activities, that's going to keep them away from drinking and drugs.

Many people complained that the proposed plans don't provide enough recreational options for a wide range of age groups.

"There doesn't seem to be anything for small kids or adults who don't play softball," said Mary Whitener, who submitted her own park proposal to the Town Council. It included a play area for children, and walking, biking and jogging areas.

Residents also said the single entrance on Upper Forde Lane would create traffic problems.

North Carroll Farms IV resident Alan Levy expressed concern about the "riff raff" that might use the skate park.

But Councilwoman Wendy Martin said children in the area have been forced off tennis courts and parking lots and need a place to use their skateboards. She presented the council with a petition supporting the skate park with 57 signatures.

Julie Gross, a student at North Carroll High School who was covering last night's hearing for her school paper, echoed Martin's concern.

"Not having a place to skate will just lead to violence," said Gross, who cited an incident in Manchester where a homeowner destroyed skaters' ramps with an ax.

Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin said town officials would consider all of the park plans submitted by residents at last night's hearing before they reach a decision. He said the council might also hold another public hearing before deciding.

Pub Date: 9/10/97

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