Extending trail will help plants, wildlife This letter...

LETTERS

March 31, 2002

Extending trail will help plants, wildlife

This letter is in response to the article, "Path of some resistance," published in the Howard County section of The Sun March 24.

The Sun article complains that the proposed extension to the existing Grist Mill Trail in the Avalon section of the Patapsco State Park would damage habitat and destroy native species along the river. A careful study of the proposed plan would show that it will actually restore habitat and reintroduce native species into the area. This section of the Patapsco River is presently far from pristine. Industrial development goes back to the early 19th century and the route of the proposed trail is bounded on one side by a railroad and in one section a large, exposed cement sewer pipe. Where there is a broad stream bank between the railroad and the river, there are already at least three hard-packed impervious surfaces where hikers and bikers make their own way along the river. These would be replaced by a single paved trail and the adjacent area would be cultivated and planted with native species to keep people on the prepared trail. The program offers a restoration rather than degradation of a pristine area.

The Grist Mill Trail was paved many years ago without fanfare or complaint. It remains today replete with native species and wildlife and represents no threat to the river. The extension of the Grist Mill Trail should be every bit as successful.

The complaint that the trail extension is being pushed by developers is not true. This is a project that was planned by the State many years ago as an improvement to park facilities and to partially replace the River Road section to Ellicott City that was lost to the flood of 1972.

The Grist Mill Trail extension was overwhelmingly supported in the last public hearing and it is an improvement that is eagerly sought by a wide range of users.

Robert Schulze

Elkridge

Transportation coalition backs light rail line

The Transportation Advocates, a grassroots coalition of employers, human service and transportation providers [and] civic organizations, have been actively supporting transit options for Howard County citizens other than the private automobile. We were pleased recently to endorse and work for the proposed light rail line from Columbia Town Center to BWI, part of a Baltimore Region Rail Plan approved by a state advisory committee.

We are concerned that an article in the Howard edition of The Sun on March 20 seemed to imply that we were opposed to the Columbia spur because of the number of anticipated stops on that line connection. That is not so. We recognize that the rail plan is in its very early stages and feel confident that there will be further public input on the number and location of stops as the plan is implemented.

Dick Kirchner

Columbia

(The writer is chair of Transportation Advocates.)

Howard crisis center deserves public support

I can't believe that people are so opposed to a "Crisis Center." What kind of a lesson are these people teaching their children in regards to caring about other people? Grassroots has been next to the Atholton High School for over 20 years and there have been no problems.

What kind of people do these people think are going to be staying at Grassroots? Are they aware that a lot of Grassroots residents are college graduates who somehow got on the wrong track and now need a place to help then get their life back on track? It is very necessary for this center to be near public transportation and a shopping center. Apparently those opposed to the center don't care how they can help people in a crisis situation. I cannot imagine what they think is going to happen as these people are there to improve their life and not cause trouble.

Please think it over and give your children and friends a true lesson in compassion and caring by letting this much needed Center be built in a neighborhood that makes it easier on the residents.

Barbara N. Schmehl

Columbia

Don't put crisis center on Old Montgomery

I am writing this letter to express my opinion about the Crisis Center on Old Montgomery Road. I have lived in Howard County for 42 years. I have seen a lot of changes, some good and some not so good. The good part is that my family (25 of us) live on Old Montgomery Road. Sister, mother, dad, daughter, grandchildren, nieces, great-nieces, great-nephews, we oppose this Crisis Center in our neighborhood. These young family members will still be living here after many townhome residents move away or move into other neighborhoods.

I can look out my window and see Route 100 or go out on the porch and listen to the traffic noise or I can go look out another window and see this huge office building and Bennigans on Route 108. Now if we get the Crisis Center down the street, I will have to live with this situation the rest of my life. Howard County has other property to establish this center without being near schools and my home.

Frances Bowers

Ellicott City

Enforce zoning laws to save U.S. 40 corridor

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