Building bridges, fixing dam

Loch Raven: City should heed concerns of Baltimore County residents in reservoir project.

November 13, 2001

BALTIMORE likes to emphasize regional cooperation and consultation in managing its three reservoirs that lie in other jurisdictions. Counties are urged to adapt their local zoning laws to protect the city's property because it is a regional resource.

But when the city decides to route 35-ton cement trucks along a major Baltimore County street for reservoir construction, there's scant effort at resident input and notice. This despite a specific request to the city from the county's public works chief last summer.

The project is the $35 million, three-year renovation of the city-owned Loch Raven Reservoir Dam.

The city could use Hoover Lane, which it owns, to move the materials to a mixing site along Loch Raven Drive. Or it could use Cromwell Bridge Road.

Instead, city public works officials chose Providence Road, and then moved to solicit project bids without meeting with residents.

That left it to state Sen. Andrew Harris to hastily organize a meeting for Providence Road residents to discuss the project's impact on the community.

City and county public works officials are supposed to attend.

The city didn't act responsibly by ignoring input from residents, says County Councilman Wayne Skinner. He expresses hope for a compromise that would use all three roads and share the burden.

The project to widen and reinforce the 89-year-old dam will begin next spring. In the process, the city will destroy dozens of acres of county farmland and woodlands, impacting the watershed.

The public meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Pot Spring Elementary School in Timonium.

This unilateral city decision is not yet water over the dam.

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