Roller hockey pavilion, lights at park draw scrutiny

Western county residents focus on two proposals at council hearing

April 22, 1999|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Two relatively inexpensive items in the $98 million capital budget drew virtually all the public comment at Tuesday evening's Howard County Council hearing: the proposed roller hockey pavilion at the former Alpha Ridge Landfill and Meadowbrook Park near Ellicott City.

Dozens of western county residents came to protest plans to install lights at a $300,000 covered roller hockey pavilion planned to replace the undersized roller rink at Alpha Ridge, on Old Frederick Road, near Route 32. Half that amount is in County Executive James N. Robey's capital budget request for the coming fiscal year.

Led by Donald Gill of Marriottsville, a team of four speakers accused county Recreation and Parks officials of plotting to disrupt their rural community with bright lights that they fear could draw vandals and disruptive teen-agers at night. Lawrence Brady, president of the Baltimore Astronomical Society, said lights would ruin his club's only place for stargazing.

They are willing to accept the rink, residents said, but are adamantly opposed to the lights. Several roller hockey advocates said the covered, lighted rink is needed because children who play the increasingly popular game have to go as far as Shrewsbury, Pa., to participate. A smaller group attended the hearing to protest plans to develop playing fields on part of the 77-acre Meadowbrook Park at Route 100 and U.S. 29, for which $115,000 in planning funds are in the proposed budget. A committee sponsored by county Councilman Christopher J. Merdon, an Ellicott City Republican, is working on a compromise proposal, residents said.

The County Council will begin discussing the executive's requests Monday at the first of several work sessions.

Pub Date: 4/22/99

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