baltimore county digest


September 19, 2006

County to purchase blighted apartments

The Baltimore County Council voted unanimously last night to approve the $1.5 million purchase of five buildings in a blighted Dundalk apartment complex, giving the county ownership of 43 buildings in the Yorkway Apartments.

The complex had more than 20 owners. With the 27 additional units in the five buildings, the county owns about 77 percent of the Yorkway Apartments.

The complex has long been a source of complaints by nearby residents and a magnet for crime and vandalism, according to community leaders.

The county intends to knock down the apartments. Residents would have a role in deciding what is built on the nearly 10-acre site in place of the apartments, according to county officials.

The county purchased 20 of the apartment buildings - with 79 units total - for $5.5 million in April. The state of Maryland also forgave a state loan and interest in the amount of $1.9 million for the 20 buildings.

In August, the county purchased 18 buildings, with 72 units total, for $4.7 million.

In other business, the council approved the $1.1 million purchase of 7.7 acres of agricultural land in White Marsh near the future site of Vincent Farms Elementary School, which is scheduled to be completed in 2008.

The land would allow for a slightly larger school, according to county officials.

Laura Barnhardt


Fire damages 14 apartments

A three-alarm fire heavily damaged a Towson apartment complex yesterday afternoon, injuring one firefighter and leaving dozens of people displaced, county fire officials said.

Shortly before 3 p.m. fire officials responded to a call at the Cromwell Valley Apartments in the first block of Treeway Court, said Michael Robinson, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Fire Department.

Robinson said the fire was believed to have spread from a third-floor apartment to the fourth floor. A total of 14 apartment units were damaged and at least 25 people were displaced.

A fire wall in the apartment complex prevented the blaze from spreading, Robinson said.

A Lutherville Volunteer Fire Company firefighter received heat related injuries and was taken to an area hospital, he said.

The fire was declared under control about 4 p.m., he said.

It was unclear yesterday afternoon what caused the fire, Robinson said.

Resident Cedric Harmon, 17, stood outside the building about 4:30 p.m. and watched water drip from his third-floor apartment.

He said he was sitting at a computer in his mother's room when he smelled smoke. He then heard a "crackling" sound, looked up and saw the ceiling collapsing.

Harmon said he and a complex employee went door to door to warn residents about the blaze. "I was just trying to help in any way I could," he said.

Nick Shields


2 bodies found at separate sites

Police identified yesterday the bodies of a man and a woman found last week in separate areas of the county

The body of Roxanne Stitz Amick, 40, was found about 8:30 a.m. Friday wrapped in a blanket in the 9900 block of Belair Road in Perry Hall, county police said.

Amick left her home in the 4200 block of Necker Ave. around 2 p.m. Wednesday, police said. A family member reported her missing the next day, and her van was later discovered in the Perry Hall Crossing Shopping Center parking lot in the 8800 block of Belair Road, police said.

An autopsy was performed but the cause of death has not been determined, police said.

A second body found around 10 a.m. Friday was identified by county police as Elvis Furman Garcia, 34, of the 7400 block of Shipley Ave. in Hanover. Garcia died from a gunshot to the upper body, police said.

County police said there is no evidence linking the two cases.

Anyone with information about the deaths is asked to call the Baltimore County Police Department at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP.

Nick Shields

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