Digest

November 30, 2007

$1.35 million OK'd to replace ice rink

The state Board of Public Works has approved $1.35 million to help replace the ice rink at Quiet Waters Park just outside Annapolis, putting it on track to reopen this time next year.

The money awarded Wednesday from Program Open Space funds covers two-thirds of the cost of the much-anticipated $2 million project to reopen the popular rink.

Anne Arundel County, anticipating the state funding, set aside the remaining money in its budget for this year, with County Executive John R. Leopold saying it was prudent to pay for the repairs sooner rather than later, as the costs will increase over time.

The rink, which opened in 1990, closed for two seasons a few years later because of problems in the construction of its cooling system, then shut down permanently in 2003 after crews discovered that the mats set up under the cooling apparatus had been leaking chemicals into a nearby pond, killing fish.

The loss of the rink and reflecting pool, major attractions at the park, was met with widespread disappointment. In January 2002, the last full season for the rink, the park logged 50,000 visitors. Two years later, attendance that month had shrunk to under 22,000.

As a result, revenues took a major hit, nosediving from $81,000 in January 2002 to $31,000.

Frank Marzucco, director of the county parks and recreation department, said the goal is to make the rebuilt ice rink self-supporting, bringing in enough money to cover its operational costs.

"It makes the park a year-round destination," he said. "That was part of the original design of the park."

Marzucco added that the project should soon be put out to bid and if all goes smoothly, the project would be on track to reopen the rink in a year.

Building to begin for surgery center

Baltimore Washington Medical Center will break ground today on its new medical office building and ambulatory surgery center in Hanover.

The 150,000-square-foot building, at 7556 Teague Road near the intersection of Route 100 and Arundel Mills Boulevard, is planned to include primary care doctors, cardiologists, dermatologists, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, diagnostic imaging, lab services, a pharmacy and the ambulatory surgery center. Remaining space will be leased.

The Glen Burnie-based hospital aims to tap into the population boom around Fort Meade as part of the military base realignment and closure process.

"Western Anne Arundel County is growing fast, and the medical center is committed to meeting our community's needs," said Dr. James York, an orthopedic surgeon and vice president of the BWMC medical staff. "This new medical building will provide people with the access they deserve to the full spectrum of medical specialties."

The project is a joint venture with JPB Enterprises Inc. in Columbia, Holland Properties Inc. in Hanover and Baltimore-based Linden Associates.

The building is expected to open in early 2009.

DUI checkpoints set in Brooklyn Park

The Anne Arundel County Police Department will hold DUI sobriety checkpoints this weekend in Brooklyn Park.

The 66th checkpoint of the year will occur tonight between 10 p.m. and midnight on northbound Ritchie Highway near Townsend Avenue. The 67th will occur tomorrow between 12:15 a.m. and 3 a.m. on southbound Ritchie Highway near 10th Avenue.

Police say that DUI checkpoints have historically been an effective strategy for removing drunken or drugged drivers from the road, and serve as an effective prevention tool by increasing the perception of risk for detection and arrest.

During previous checkpoints in Anne Arundel County, 359 arrests for driving under the influence and 103 arrests for drug offenses have been made, after making contact with the drivers of nearly 65,037 vehicles.

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