Skate park move backed

Before recreation board vote on Blandair Park, committee endorses move to put multipurpose building in central area

October 09, 2008|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,larry.carson@baltsun.com

Residents' suggestions to move a proposed skateboard park and multipurpose building farther away from existing neighborhoods when the southern portion of Blandair Park is built in Columbia won approval from a citizens committee planning the project.

The county Recreation and Parks board is to vote Wednesday night on whether to approve that recommendation at a 7 p.m. meeting at departmental headquarters, at 7120 Oakland Mills Road.

The issue brought out dozens of people at a September hearing who objected to a consultant's plans to place those facilities at the park's eastern edge. They feared that placement might cause more noise and disruption near their homes.

Gary J. Arthur, county recreation and parks director, said the "G-1" option pictured on the department's Web site was approved by an 11-7 vote of the committee Monday evening.

"It pulls the skateboard and multipurpose building into a more central area," Arthur said.

If the board approves, another year would be needed for planning on Phase 1 of the project, and work could begin in 2010 or later.

Bridget Mugane, a committee member who lives just east of the parkland, said she voted with the majority, but said there was not a sharp difference of opinion on the final two choices.

"I think a lot of people felt either plan was viable," she said.

The G-1 option would mean a more direct route to active recreation areas from Route 175, which she liked better, she said.

Joan Lancos, another committee member, agreed.

"There wasn't a huge difference." Her decision, she said was based on what she saw as "the will of the community."

The first phase of construction would provide two multipurpose fields, a playground, restrooms and parking on the portion south of Route 175.

The 300-acre former Smith farm is east of U.S. 29 and is bisected by Route 175. The land and 19th-century mansion were bought by the county a decade ago but so far have not been developed.

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