Architect gives Balto. County firms a face-lift

April 02, 2001|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

A Timonium architect is using computer wizardry to help give face-lifts to more than a dozen businesses throughout Baltimore County.

Last year, county economic development officials selected Sanders Design of Timonium as the "Architect On Call" for small businesses that want sprucing up.

The program is part of a county effort to improve 12 designated revitalization areas by enhancing the streetscape. Businesses are assessed $55 per foot of their frontage to help pay for the county improvements, which include sidewalks, benches, light poles and garbage cans.

As an alternative, owners can put some of the money back into their businesses. Through the Architect On Call program, the county offers businesses up to 10 free hours of design help.

As the architect, Tim Sanders provides ideas to companies. He takes a digital photograph of a building and brings in the owner to make enhancements on computers and then presents the new look.

The company estimates that it's helped about 15 firms redesign their facades.

Thomas Booth used the company for ideas on how to improve his Arbutus office. "I couldn't figure out what to do," Booth said. "Once they scan the picture, they can do anything."

James W. Mohler took advantage of the program to consider changes to his Arbutus real estate office. "They helped me with the fine-tuning and color coordination," Mohler said.

Maureen Sweeney Smith, former president of the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, encourages owners to use the service.

"A lot of our shopkeepers are very good shopkeepers," Smith said. "But they don't know about colors."

For more information about the program, call the county Department of Economic Development, 410-887-8000.

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