Final design for rec center to be presented Meeting scheduled tonight on $14 million proposal that is to include library

September 24, 1997|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

The final design of the proposed 23,000-square-foot community center that would bring western Howard County its first full-service library will be presented at a meeting tonight.

A site at Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road in Glenwood will be turned into a $14 million complex complete with a library, gym, recreation center and other facilities.

The library, the first phase of the project, was scheduled to open in fall 1999 at the earliest. But Howard County officials say the library might not open until 2002.

Many west county residents have complained that a library is long overdue, and the news of a possible three-year delay in building the center drew criticism from many who claim the move was part of a continuing pattern of neglect.

"It's clear that we need recreational facilities out here because we just don't have any," said Terry Chaconas, Glenwood Middle School's former PTA president. "So I think it's really important that we all get involved so that we'll get a facility that we all can use. And if we show some support for the center, maybe we can get funding a little sooner for the library."

XTC The nearest full-service county library is in Ellicott City -- about 20 miles from the proposed library, which would sit on a 181-acre tract along Route 97.

Library services are available from a smaller branch in a storefront in Lisbon -- open four days a week -- and at a Carroll County branch in Mount Airy.

The Glenwood Center project also will include a community center, an expanded senior center and offices for the Health Department.

The buildings would be concentrated at the east end of the site, with the rest used largely for a park, to be completed in 2002.

The complex will also have office space for a satellite police unit, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman. The office will not be a 24-hour manned substation. It will be an office large enough for officers who work in western Howard to make phone calls and do other police work, Keller said.

Construction of the community center will be phased in over the next several years.

The park -- which is to extend west from the buildings -- will have sports fields, picnic pavilions, a pond and walking trails through wooded areas.

More than 20,000 people live in the western part of the county. That number is expected to grow by 8,000 by 2010, placing more of a burden on services, say residents and county officials.

Bob Buckler, president of the Warfield Estates citizens association in Glenwood, said many west county citizens are concerned about the traffic that comes with any development.

"The most important thing that should be talked about at the meeting is the safety of the people that go up and down Route 97," said Buckler. "My concern is that when the county starts providing services like the center, more people are going to be traveling these roads, and that it will get to be out of control."

Traffic along Route 97 moves rapidly, and the roads become thick with commuters every morning and evening, Buckler said. "There are real safety concerns if there aren't things like extra traffic lights put up, too," he warned.

"Everyone's interested in the center, so I'm sure a lot of people will attend the meeting," Buckler said. "There are a lot of people who would like to maintain some sense of the rural aspects to this part of the county."

The meeting, sponsored by the Department of Recreation and Parks, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Glenwood Middle School Cafeteria, 2680 Route 97.

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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