Promise it and they will come Recreation: Proposed Lake Shore Arena in Anne Arundel illustrates pressure for facilities.

March 20, 1998

AS ONE OF THE region's fast-growing jurisdictions, Anne Arundel County is woefully short of recreation facilities.

So great is pent-up demand for forums suitable for indoor sports that for more than a year, community groups have been squabbling over space at Pasadena's Lake Shore Arena.

Can you imagine how intense the competition would be if a facility to fight over existed? Construction on that $7 million arena has not even begun. The first shovels should bite the ground this spring.

"Basically everything is a 'go,' " says Anne Arundel's recreation chief, Thomas F. Angelis. The project is expected to take five months to complete. Among other amenities, it will include an indoor soccer field and two ice rinks, one as large as a National Hockey League surface and the other Olympic-sized.

The advance demand for the Lake Shore complex should come as no surprise. Anne Arundel families are virtually begging for new sports facilities. Just look at the heavy use of Piney Orchard Ice Forum in Odenton and Benfield Pines Ice Rink in Millersville. ,, Or the crowds at the Arundel Olympic Swim Center outside Annapolis.

As for soccer, some county teams now get bused to Baltimore for practice. But both the Myers Soccer Pavilion in Brooklyn and the Du Burns Soccer Facility in Canton are overbooked. The Broadneck Sports Complex, a 22,500-square-foot indoor multipurpose field near Annapolis, also has been mobbed since opening more than a year ago.

Additional flexible recreation space is needed in the county. The financing for the Lake Shore project may become a model. At that Pasadena site, private investors are paying for the construction, while the county allows them to use about one-third of the park's 59 acres.

This is the direction in which the county's nine-member Recreational Facilities Revenue Authority, created by the County Council two years ago, wants to move. The authority is discussing building another indoor facility for the populous northern half of the county.

Such a complex would accommodate aquatic sports as well as soccer. The sooner this can be accomplished, the better.

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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