Search for community center site continues Location near state park rejected by DNR

September 02, 1998|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Catonsville residents seeking to build a community center in southwestern Baltimore County are searching for at least 5 acres that could accommodate a gymnasium, Olympic-size indoor pool, martial arts and dance studios, environmental center and skating rink.

The Southwest Regional Community Center Inc. was turned down last week by the Department of Natural Resources for a proposed state-owned site near Rolling and Gun roads at Patapsco Valley State Park, a location also opposed by neighbors of the park.

Community center advocates vowed yesterday to seek another site by late September.

"There is growing support for this facility. The tricky part is finding a site," supporter Anne Walker said of the community center that residents hope will be run by the YMCA.

The 70,000-square-foot center would offer recreational facilities for members in the Catonsville and Arbutus areas. Walker said the group is seeking nonprofit tax status and is hoping to finance the center through public and private sources.

"I think the idea is perfect, it's something the southwest could truly use," said County Councilman Stephen G. Sam Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat. "But we must find a site that is compatible."

Plans for the Southwest Regional Community Center come at a time when county officials have supported recreational facilities.

Up to 20 playing fields for local softball, football, lacrosse and soccer devotees were included in County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger's 1999 budget proposal. The proposal also includes $2.87 million to buy 19 acres next to the proposed Dogwood Elementary School site in Woodlawn for an athletic complex featuring lighted fields. Another $620,000 was proposed to repair and renovate older parks and ball fields throughout the county.

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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