34 banners aim to distinguish Loch Raven Village community

Desire to stand apart from Towson, Parkville

August 30, 1999|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

In an attempt to distinguish Loch Raven Village from what residents see as the urban sprawl of Towson, the neighborhood association has put up a series of colorful banners to give the area an identity.

On light poles along busy roads, including Putty Hill Avenue, Pleasant Plains Road and Glen Keith Boulevard, hang 34 banners identifying Loch Raven Village -- an unusual, county-funded effort to make the community stand out from the surrounding areas of Towson and Parkville, which residents feel threaten to overshadow it.

There's a tendency to see suburban neighborhoods "all as one great sea of homes, and yet they're not," said David Nielsen, member of the Loch Raven Association's board of directors. "Each of them has their own school, has their own amenities, has their own things. It's appropriate to call attention to that fact."

The gold, green or red banners with the Loch Raven Village name and a graphic of a townhouse door are part of an effort to attract more people to the World War II-era neighborhood, which is competing for residents with newer areas such as White Marsh.

"We're a neighborhood in transition," said Baltimore County Councilman Wayne M. Skinner, a Towson Republican. "Years ago, the Loch Raven area was the forgotten area."

Nielsen said the community's 50th anniversary in 1997 prompted the neighborhood association to reassess its community. The neighborhood association, noting that younger people who grew up in the area were moving back, decided to revitalize the area's image.

"We thought we could build on that sense of enthusiasm and tap into it," he said.

He said the neighborhood association also wanted to unify the 1,500-home community, which is divided by heavily traveled Loch Raven Boulevard. The banners on Putty Hill Avenue to the north and Glen Keith Boulevard to the south of the boulevard draw the community together, he said.

"It was a community pride thing, to remind people as they drive through [of] where they live, just to give it a sense of place," he said.

The banners were put up in the beginning of last month, after the neighborhood association got a $10,000 grant from Baltimore County's Office of Community Conservation. The grant was added to $2,500 raised by the association.

Steve Lafferty, manager of neighborhood revitalization for the Office of Community Conservation, said the department was attracted by the unusual nature of the proposal.

The county's sign ordinance usually would prohibit such banners, unless the county allowed them in its right of way, said Arnold Jablon, director of the county's Department of Permits and Development Management. He made the exception because he appreciated the neighborhood association's commitment to the livability of Loch Raven Village.

"I think [the banners] provide them identification," he said. "It allows them the pride of ownership."

Pub Date: 8/30/99

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