A house for every budget in Millersville


Area's delights beckon, with prices ranging from mid-100s into the millions

Asking price exceeds $2 million for some homes in Millersville

November 30, 2003|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Stretching across central Anne Arundel County like an elongated letter S, the area known as Millersville is a microcosm of the entire county.

From the bucolic Millersville that appears on county maps, to the upper-end residential neighborhoods and commercial development that reach both north and south, the area defined by the 21108 ZIP code provides a mix of country and urban lifestyles.

In a county where reasonably priced houses have become difficult to find - the average sale price of a home in Anne Arundel County was $271,417 last month - Millersville offers a variety of housing stock. Starter or retirement-size houses are priced in the mid- to upper-$100,000 range. Homes start around $250,000 in neighborhoods such as Old Mill and Gartelmill, and prices climb higher than $400,000 in Shipley's Choice, Brittingham and Kilmarnock.

Waterfront properties overlooking the Severn River - such as one now on the market in the 30-year-old community of Point Field Landing in the middle of Millersville - have asking prices of more than $2 million. At the southern end of Millersville, children traveling on quiet, tree-lined Millersville Road to Millersville Elementary School pass homes on acre-plus lots where llamas and horses graze in small, tidy pastures. A restored 1685 home on 17 acres with seven bedrooms and five bathrooms on Millersville Road is on the market for $1.8 million.

There are also homes for the average buyer.

"Depending on what they're looking for," says Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Realtor Joan Schellhase, "buyers can find it in Millersville."

The area proudly mixes its past with the present.

Across the street from the 19th-century Millersville Post Office-cum antique shop on Cecil Avenue is the 160-year-old farmhouse that was home to the Miller family - after which the area is named. Now it is headquarters for Anne Arundel County Trails and Greenways.

"Besides being home to the Millers," says Dave Dionne, superintendent of Trails and Greenways, which develops the area's paths, "the house has served as a school, post office, store and central shipping point for goods to Annapolis and Baltimore" on the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis rail line that ran past the house.

Moving north along Interstate 97, the serenity of the historic countryside morphs into commercial development. Residents use the extended section of Benfield Boulevard to reach the new - at least by old Millersville standards - 10-year-old Millersville Post Office. Around the corner is a burgeoning business complex dominated by the 33,000-square-foot I-97 Business Park. Running parallel to I-97 is the shopping and business district on Veterans Highway.

Allan Schwartz spent a year and a half "doing the demographics" before deciding in 1985 to open his store, Ready to Finish Furniture, in the Cloverleaf Business Park in the Old Mill section of Millersville.

"This is a great location," says Schwartz. "People from all over can get to me." Customers come from as far as Columbia and Laurel, he says.

Millersville residents are served by two middle and high schools. Youngsters from neighborhoods on the east side of I-97 along Benfield Boulevard and part of Jumpers Hole Road attend Severna Park Middle and Severna Park High schools. Teen-agers in the Old Mill area have their own educational trifecta: Old Mill High School and two middle schools, Old Mill North and Old Mill South, all housed in one complex.

Many recreational activities are held at Kinder Farm Park, which includes nearly 300 acres of rolling hills and grasslands. The park includes the Garcelon Sports Complex, a 2 1/4 -mile trail, children's playgrounds, picnic pavilions and the soon-to-be-completed restoration of an early-20th-century working farm. Millersville also plays host to the county board of education's Camp Arlington Echo, which is on the Severn River. Students come for the day to study Maryland's flora and fauna, or by the week to attend summer camp programs, such as band camp and adventure camp.

Building in Shipley's Choice began during the early 1970s and has resulted in one of the largest residential communities in Millersville with more than 1,000 homes, its own swim and tennis club and Blue Ribbon elementary school. While most of the older Shipley's Choice homes are valued in the mid-$400,000s, the newer, larger models sell for more than $500,000.

"I love this place and I'll never move," says Cynthia Andrews, who has two reasons to want to live in Shipley's Choice. Besides liking the location and style of the community, Andrews is a descendent of Adam Shipley, after whom the community is named. Her grandmother was a Shipley, and Andrews traces her roots to the 17th-century Englishman who settled in Annapolis in 1668. Adam Shipley gradually bought much of the land along the Severn River that now makes up Anne Arundel County.

"It's weird to think that my family has lived here for so long," Andrews says, "and 300 years later, I had to buy my land back at an exorbitant price. But, I feel like I really belong here."


ZIP code: 21108

Commuting time to Baltimore: 40 to 50 minutes

Public schools: Benfield, Oakwood, Glen Burnie Park, Millersville, Oak Hill, Oakwood, Rippling Woods, Shipley's Choice and Southgate elementary schools; Severna Park Middle and High schools; Old Mill High; Old Mill North and Old Mill South middle schools; Glen Burnie High School and Corkran Middle.

Shopping: Craine Highway Center, Annapolis Mall, Marley Station, Waugh Chapel Shopping Center, Arundel Mills.

Homes on the market: 35

Average list price: $339,602 *

Average sales price: $336,963 *

Average days on the market: 30 *

Sales price as a percentage of listing price: 99.22% ** Based on 228 sales during the past 12 months as compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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