Dundalk Patch received the following letter from Dundalk resident Bob Staab:
It's time for the people of the Southeastern area to wake from their doldrums and begin protecting the interest of themselves, their children and future generations. I grew up and have lived in the Dundalk area my whole life. I've seen many changes occur, many of which have done harm to the integrity of the area.
Some of the worst occurrences have been thrust on us over the past decade with administrations who don't seem to care about our people or our "Quality of Life." A once proud and well recognized Recreation and Parks program in the county has gone from the best in the country to a total abomination. This has happened not because of the Recreation and Parks volunteers who are attempting to do their best to provide opportunities for our citizens, despite their frustration with the administration. It has happened because of a
complete lack of concern and support on the part of the county administration at both the executive branch and departmental administration.
Now the county administration is applying a final touch by attempting to sell one of the only large buildings and large parcels of property in the area. North Point Government Center is a keystone of recreational opportunities in the entire area and Baltimore County's intentions is to place one more nail in the coffin to destroying this area's quality of life.
What made Recreation and Parks so great over the past? The wisdom of the Board of Recreation and Parks set forth a series of departmental policies for the County.
Of these original policies:
1.) "To afford Recreation and Parks direction and opportunities where wanted and where the people indicated a desire and willingness to help themselves." The County volunteers are doing their part, at least trying to do their part, however, they have become frustrated over the complete lack of support from the county administration through lack of full and part time staff, lack of cooperation, and lack of adequate maintenance support.
(At the time of writing this letter, Dundalk United had requested to meet with the Baltimore County Board of Recreation and Parks). The response received was "The Board nor the department has any say in the sale of North Point or any other property. Therefore, this is not something that should be placed on the agenda."
Can you believe that the Board of Recreation and Parks has no say in the sale of park land in Baltimore County?
2.) "Joint Use Agreement of School Recreation Centers." In 1949, then-School Superintendent Stapleton concurred with Recreation and Parks, writing that "All school buildings and grounds could be used by Recreation." Even today, all school recreation centers are built with funds from both departments. The Department of Recreation and Parks currently purchases 50% of all elementary school properties and 30% of secondary school properties and pays the Board of Education the appropriate negotiated costs for new school construction needed to enhance community recreation opportunities.
Where is the support of the Board of Education today? It appears that in some cases they have completely taken over activity rooms built and paid for by Recreation. The Department had outdoor access to toilet facilities constructed at a large variety of facilities, but are denied use to recreation programs. Why is this all occurring? Mainly because of the lack of interest for our quality of life by the County and Departmental Administrations to negotiate with the Board of Education.
I see no plausible reason for the sale of North Point Government Center for commercial or industrial use! The Government Center is in the center of a highly concentrated population area with thousands of individuals utilizing it for recreational purposes, particularly children of the surrounding areas. Why in the world would we want more stores in Dundalk? We have well over a hundred stores currently vacant with Eastpoint nearly closed, and the old Ames Center on Eastern Boulevard still nearly vacant after many years. What happens to the many small businesses along Merritt Boulevard if larger stores are placed at North Point?
What about the traffic along Merritt Boulevard? It is already nearly unbearable. On a Tuesday morning at 10:00 A.M. (an unlikely time), the cars were bumper to bumper. What will it be like with additional stores at North Point?
I think in an effort to satisfy the local citizens it has been stated that the property (green space) would be replaced. Where? There is no open property of 27+ acres within walking distance to the immediate area in question. What about the tennis courts and multipurpose courts? It has also been stated very benevolently that the physical center will be replaced with a 21,000 square foot building somewhere in the area. It wouldn't do much good outside the immediate area without being walk-to. Just what could be fit in a 21,000 square area? Do you really think that could replace a gymnasium, several activity rooms, locker room, offices, auditorium, rehearsal hall and storage. What about the space for the Alliance, and The Sky is the Limit Theater? Would it then be necessary to rent space somewhere else for a County Councilman and member of the House of Delegates?
For all the people in the Southeastern Area, it is time to be heard. The battle this time is in the surrounding communities of North Point Government Center; Eastwood Elementary has already had their grief.
At the rate things are going, the next time it may be at Holabird Middle, General John Stricker Middle, Sparrows Point Middle-High, Dundalk Middle, Patapsco High or any other facility that the County Administration feels they can make a few bucks and come to the aid of the developers.
Sorry, Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, in no way can I see how the sale of the North Point Government Center can be beneficial to the Dundalk Area; in fact I don't know what your motivation is or what direction your head follows, it certainly doesn't sound like the majority of Southeast Area residents.
1930 Robinwood Road