Proposed center's design to suit site, planners say Library, park slated for site along Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road ZTC

September 25, 1997|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The Glenwood Center -- a community center, library and adjacent park -- will be molded to fit the surrounding environment, officials said last night as they presented the complex's final plans to residents.

"We're letting the land tell us what the park should be," said Greg Ault, a land planning and landscape architect hired to design the 181-acre site along Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road.

The design presented last night will be the framework for the engineering phase, said Jeffrey A. Bourne, director of the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.

"We don't know which way the doors will open yet," Bourne said about the three-building complex. "We don't know how large the ponds will be. We still have to plan that part."

Construction could begin as early as late 1998 on the library, which should be completed in 2000, Bourne said.

Planners hope to begin building the adjacent community center and fire house in 2002 and have the entire complex, including the park, finished by 2003.

Most of the 30 residents who attended the meeting at Glenwood Middle School weren't as concerned about the center's looks as they were about the traffic problems it could create.

During an hourlong question-and-answer session, residents peppered officials with worries, ranging from gridlock to installation of traffic lights at Carrs Mill Road and Route 97.

"It's about the safety of people," said Suzanne Appelbaum, 46, of Glenwood. "I have concerns about the two schools up the road and traffic at the intersection."

A neighbor to the park said he was worried about increasing commuter traffic along those roads and wondered why more wasn't being done now.

"They gave me an answer, but I'm not satisfied," said Bill Walk, 61. "There ought to be a working traffic light there now, before development."

The state probably will install a flashing light at the Carrs Mill-Route 97 intersection next spring, and that will become a regular traffic signal, planners said.

They also emphasized that there will probably be no left turn into the complex from northbound Route 97 because of speeding commuter traffic.

However, cars going north on Route 97 will be able to enter the park along Carrs Mill Road, officials said.

The complex will consist of three buildings, as well as the existing Allen House.

The community center will contain a police substation, a senior citizens' center, basketball courts, an aerobics room and a cafe. The Allen House most likely will be used for meetings, planners said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Bourne, the parks director, stressed the library should be completed in the year 2000, not 2002 as had previously been reported.

For several years, west county residents have been calling for a full-service library. The nearest one, in Ellicott City, is about 20 miles away.

The park will have about 1.7 miles of walking trails and a similar distance for horse trails. Officials plan to construct four baseball fields, three soccer fields and three parking lots that will hold about 600 cars.

There should also be about 100 parking spaces along roads winding through the park and near the ball fields, planners said.

Pub Date: 9/25/97

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