A warm community where the price is right

Neighborhood profile: Harundale

Ranchers dominate, houses sell for $100,000 to $135,000

February 24, 2002|By Katie Arciari | Katie Arciari,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Tara Boyd left Harundale almost three years ago, she said she cried for six months.

The mother of three terribly missed her three-bedroom rancher and the warmth of the residents she had shared memories with for years in the sturdy, affordable neighborhood.

"I had wonderful neighbors that pulled together to help one another," Boyd said.

"Our children played together; most of them went to school together. I still bring my kids here to trick-or-treat because the neighbors are just so festive."

Although Boyd, a real estate agent, lives in a bigger home now, she knows that Harundale has a lot to offer first-time homebuyers.

"It's one of the least expensive single-family neighborhoods that you can get into," she said.

The neighborhood comprises approximately 1,100 homes built after World War II. They are smallish, averaging about 950 square feet, and most are two- or three-bedroom ranchers built on slab foundations.

But what the homes lack in size is made up in affordability, ranging in price from just over $100,000 to about $135,000, according to Boyd.

Besides the affordable homes and the preponderance of nearby amenities such as Harundale Plaza, Harundale Presbyterian Church, North County Area Library and North Arundel Hospital, there is also the advantage of having an active neighborhood president like Michael Jennings.

Since taking over as president of the Harundale-Oakwood Civic Association in July 2000, he has helped transform the area.

He's taken a dismal park near the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail and turned it into a basketball court, which now thrives with neighborhood games.

He then began enforcing an often-neglected $25 annual neighborhood property maintenance fee, which many residents had not been paying.

Jennings even installed a separate association phone line in his home so residents can contact the group.

This month, with the help of the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, he proudly opened the county's first skateboard park - which had been a blighted, overgrown 33-acre area.

Skateboard admission

Admission to the skateboard park costs $4 for community members and $6 for nonmembers, but those who can't afford the fee won't be turned away.

Jennings offers community service hours in exchange for hours spent skating.

Although the civic association has done much to improve the community, attendance at community meetings remains low. On average, about 50 people attend, a number Jennings would like to see increase to a few hundred.

"After a while you know that when you're involved in a community association, the brunt of the work falls on you," Jennings said. "We're learning that as time goes on."

Even though heading the association can be arduous at times, the hard work has paid off.

He hopes to open a community center, which will provide drug prevention programs, help with homework and a place for children's activities. And to slow traffic, he wants speed bumps placed on the streets.

Crime prevention

As far as crime prevention, Jennings said the county Police Department is represented at all community meetings, and residents can fill out forms to have their voices heard.

Dottie Wright, who has lived in Harundale since 1961, also attends the meetings. Wright, who is 72 and the association membership chairwoman, says having police attend the meetings is advantageous for those who want to report neighborhood problems.

There are advantages to living in Harundale for seniors such as Wright.

In addition to the homes, most of which are one floor, there's the Harundale Plaza - which includes a SuperFresh supermarket - and the Pascal Senior Center.

Wright thinks that Jennings is doing a fine job as the association president.

"He's got some wonderful ideas," Wright said. "I think he's a very energetic man who gets things done."

Jennings says that for those who are looking to "get involved in something" and be a part of a changing community, Harundale would be a good choice. "We're going to work to make it a better place," he said.


ZIP code: 21060, 21061

Commute to downtown Baltimore: 25 minutes

Public schools: ; Glendale Elementary, Marley Middle, Glen Burnie High

Shopping: Marley Station Mall, Harundale Plaza

Homes on market: 5

Average listing price: $107,714*

Average sale price: $107,031*

Average days on market: 69**Based on 67 sales in the past 12 months, compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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