Q: If you could ask Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger to improve your neighborhood, what would you ask him to do?
Ernest Baisden, president, Greater Parkville Community Council:
Our No. 1 priority is to develop a program to preserve neighborhood open space. Many of the undeveloped parcels in our community are now targeted for development, and we would like to preserve them in the form of passive parks, open space or gardens. We are interested in forming a county-community partnership to create a land trust to preserve our neighborhood woodlands and open space.
We are also interested in construction of sidewalks to make our neighborhood more pedestrian-friendly. We also would like to have sidewalks to our schools and business district.
We need some traffic-calming efforts to slow down traffic on Harford and Joppa roads. We also would like some more street trees to make our community more green.
Our desire is to keep our communities livable, attractive and family-oriented.
Donald Bokman, president, Arbutus Community Association:
Our needs are minimal compared with other communities. We are most interested in maintaining what we have. Ours is an older community, and our alleys and streets need reconstruction and repair. Many of our alleys are in terrible shape. Some of our ball fields need some dirt and new sod. With more girls now playing ball, there is a demand for more ball fields. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of empty space in our community to develop them.
Michael Fabula, president, Freeland Community Association:
We are country people and don't expect a lot from our government. The one problem we do have involves traffic, and it would take very little to correct it. Middletown Road is one of the major routes through our community. It connects with I-83 and Falls Road. We are getting a lot of trucks coming down from Pennsylvania that are bypassing weigh stations. If the county were to restrict the weight limits on Middletown, we probably would solve this problem. The other problem we have is the large number of commuters from Pennsylvania who speed on our roads. We could use a little more police presence to keep our roads safe. We really don't need much.
Darrah Brady, president, Sudbrook Park Inc.:
On behalf of our community, I would ask for several things:
Recognize the value of Sudbrook Park's history in Baltimore County -- we need to learn from a community that has worked for over a century.
Fill vacancies on the county's Landmarks Preservation Commission with qualified persons who have the expertise needed to deal with preservation issues.
Support county historic preservation tax credits to encourage rehabilitation of the county's valuable historic resources.
Enhance quality of life in older communities by funding the purchase of smaller, undeveloped parcels for open space.
Actively work to change the current zoning practices that encourage sprawl, traffic congestion and social segregation.
Assist Pikesville in retaining its identity as a pedestrian-oriented urban village.
A few wishes
Rosalyn Roddy, president, Greater Patapsco Community Association:
Unlike some other communities, our area does not have a long wish list of things we want the county to do. We like our country roads as they are, as long as they are maintained properly. Old Court Road is increasingly being used as an alternate to the beltway by commuters going between Owings Mills and Randallstown to the Social Security area or Howard County, which puts a lot of traffic in our community at rush hours. There are several intersections that should be improved for safety. There is a need, for example, for a traffic signal at Windsor Mill and Old Court roads.
Public safety is a concern, and we are trying to help ourselves with an active Citizens On Patrol operation. The county should increase the visibility of its police presence with more frequent patrols. They should provide a police substation in the LibertyRoad/Old Court area which could also serve the Granite area.
Because we are outside the Urban Rural Demarcation Line, our residents depend on private wells and septic systems. The county is not doing enough to protect our underground water supply. The county should actively discourage unlimited development, even when permitted under zoning regulations. Rural areas are not suitable for unbridled development or huge institutions.
A hot issue for those in Granite deals with school-age children. Our children go to two different elementary schools. The division splits our community right down the middle, so that across-the-street neighbors who play together can't go to the same school together. We have been trying to remedy this problem for a long time. We don't understand why the Dogwood Elementary School now under construction will not admit children from our area.
Finally, the disposition of the old Nike missle base sites is troubling to many in the Granite Hernwood Road area. The federal government is now in the process of decontaminating the control tower site so that it can be offered to the state and then Baltimore County. Who will claim it and for what purpose? The same will apply to the launch area site when the police training center moves to Sykesville.
We, as a community, have to be constantly alert and interested enough in our rural setting to fight to preserve it.