Opponents to treatment plant at Piney Run to hold park rally

Gouge to speak

1,000 expected to participate

May 04, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

A rally in Piney Run Park on Sunday will celebrate the popular recreation spot and voice opposition to county plans to build a treatment plant on the park lake to provide more water to South Carroll.

Given the growing sentiment against the project, rally organizers are expecting as many as 1,000 participants. Keynote speaker Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge, who cast the dissenting vote on the project, will discuss options the county could pursue before using Piney Run. Other speakers include representatives from Baltimore City and County and the Sierra Club. Organizers also plan to read a letter from Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

"We want this to be a family day to celebrate the lake and to get an education on what has happened and why," said Ross D'Angel, a member of Freedom Area Citizens Council, an unofficial liaison between residents and county government and the rally's sponsor. "We are not trying to load people up with a bunch of information, just give them our concerns for the future of this park."

Participation will show county officials that "we are opposed to the destruction of Piney Run Lake," said Mike Naused, citizens council chairman.

Commissioners Robin Bartlett Frazier and Donald I. Dell, who are pushing the project forward, insist the plant and a daily withdrawal of as much as 3 million gallons will have no impact on the lake. The county needs a second water source for South Carroll, its most populous area, and cannot rely solely on water it draws from Liberty Reservoir, a 45-billion-gallon lake owned by Baltimore City, officials said.

"Why risk harm to Piney Run when we have a much more plentiful body of water there for the taking?" D'Angel asked.

Dell and Frazier have studies and statistics to underscore their claims. The county mailed a brochure detailing the history of the lake, built 30 years ago as a future reservoir, and the rationale for building the plant.

"We believe in saving the lake, too, and we are," said Frazier, who will not attend the rally.

Dell has not decided whether he will participate. But, if he does go to the rally, he will carry a "save the lake" banner, he said.

Many who live near the lake would disagree that a treatment plant will save the lake.

"I know we can't stand in the way of progress, but when they start drawing on this lake every day, there will be places where we are going to see the bottom," said Kenny Boyd of Obrecht Road.

Nimrod Davis, citizens council vice chairman, said, "If we do nothing but slow this project down, maybe we can replace one or two of these commissioners, before this gets built."

The commissioners hope to have the plant in operation by 2004. The next county election is next year.

The council has blanketed South Carroll with brightly colored signs urging residents to join the rally from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, 30 Martz Road.

Information: 410-795-2896.

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