Baltimore County officials said yesterday that they are looking at land near the Liberty Family Resource Center in Randallstown as the preferred site for a new community center.
With engineering and environmental concerns being studied at that site -- and an announcement yesterday that the county had received nearly $400,000 in federal money to outfit a new center -- residents and government officials said the creation of a hub for the community was moving closer to reality.
"Baltimore City says, `Believe,' and we embrace that idea. But in Randallstown, we also say, `Know,'" said Cheryl Pasteur, head of the community's Urban Design Assistance Team, during an event to announce the federal funding. "Know that a vision ... is something that with hard work and commitment will become a reality."
Randallstown residents have been pushing the idea of a community center and found backers among county elected officials and in Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat who said she pressed for funding during a tough budget cycle after hearing the community's need.
The Randallstown project and another planned community center in Dundalk received allocations of $396,800 each for technology and employment training through federal Economic Development Initiative grants, officials announced yesterday.
"I think Dundalk is really beginning to be noticed, and that's pretty important," said Jane Willeboordse, executive director of Dundalk Renaissance Corp.
While there is funding in the county's capital budget for both centers, officials said yesterday that Randallstown's is farther along.
An earlier plan to put the center on land between two shopping centers on Liberty Road was abandoned after officials determined that the site could not be developed because of environmental concerns, said Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver, who represents Randallstown.
Officials said they are now looking at building on the county-owned park and ride lot behind the family resource center on Resource Drive -- just west of Liberty Road and Brenbrook Drive. A second possible county-owned site lies farther east on Liberty Road, Oliver said.
"We need this community center. We need this technology center," Oliver told a group gathered for yesterday's announcement. "It's long overdue."