Dundalk gets 2nd chance to discuss plans for park

Meeting tonight on ideas for Concrete Homes facility


A rusty backstop looms over a lonely, grass-covered baseball diamond that dates to World War II. Graffiti mars a trash can.

Nearby, rubble and dirt are piled where a small but aging business used to be. Two more commercial buildings near Concrete Homes Park will also be demolished in an effort to spruce up a slice of waterfront property in the heart of Dundalk.

Residents will have a chance tonight to say what they think of ideas for improving the park.

A small community building, walking trails and improvements to the pier at the 5-acre park, which is on Bullneck Creek, were some of the ideas discussed at an initial community meeting in March.

"We always have at least two meetings," said John Markley, deputy director of the county Department of Recreation and Parks. "The first is the `Want and Don't Want' meeting. We take ideas and turn them into a concept plan. ... We want them to tell us in terms of what they want to see built there, what activities they want at the parks."

At tonight's meeting -- scheduled for 7 p.m. at Logan Elementary School -- community members will review and comment on concept plans presented by county parks officials.

"Obviously, we can't have everything based on the site, but we can have as close as possible to what they desire," said Neil Magness, southeast program director for recreation and parks. "If nothing else, it's going to be a facelift for the park."

Concrete Homes Park was built originally as part of the Concrete Homes development that still abuts the park on one side. But, Markley said, the park hasn't been actively used.

Mary Harvey, director of the county's Office of Community Conservation, said a refurbished park is only part of an overall project to improve the area. An aging sewer line has been replaced, and a roundabout is planned for the intersection of Dundalk Avenue and Sollers Point Road.

The plans for the roundabout and other "streetscape" improvements emerged after an Urban Design Assistance Team came to Dundalk in 2001.

Todd Smith, president of the Water's Edge Recreation Council, said his group hopes a community recreational center is added to Concrete Homes Park. The community's youth programs are scattered throughout the area, and Smith said he hopes a community center could "consolidate the programs under one roof."

Smith said the project will take place in two parts. "Basically, the first part is to remove the eyesore, and the second part is what to put back," he said. "A community center would serve it well."

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