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Dundalk Residents Voice Opposition To Government Center Sale

One protester calls for the public to trade in their councilmembers for "better models" while a middle school student says the council will be labeled "meanies" for taking programs away from the community.

Adults came by the dozens to protest the proposed sale of the North Point Government Center but it was Micheala O'May, an eighth grade student, who stole the show.

Michaela, who attends Our Lady of Hope St. Luke School, was one of nearly a dozen speakers who attended the Baltimore County Council meeting Monday and ask the council to stop the sale of the center that houses, amongst other things, The Sky is the Limit community theater group, ball fields and the police precinct.

"It is my sincerest hope and prayers that you reconsider closing the Sky is the Limit here at the government center," said Michaela. "Please, let our show go on."

For the second time in a month, more than two dozen Dundalk residents came out to voice their opposition to the proposed sale of the North Point Government Center.

The property is one of three that County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has proposed that the county sell to private developers.

Michaela said she first attended a show performed by the group at the age of 4 and "was magically transported over the rainbow to see the wizard."

The young actress credits the group with providing her with training that will allow her to attend Patapsco High and Center for the Arts theater magnet program in the fall.

The program at The Sky is the Limit has fostered a sense of community among those who attend, Michaela said.

"The people at Sky are like family," Michaela said. "They accept you for who you are and not judge you for your limitations. Everyone is welcomed here: Young, old, large, small, the physically and mentally challenged."

Juanita Bayer, another Dundalk resident, praised the theater group for its work with residents with special needs.

"There is no other program that would provide them the opportunity to be involved in a full-scale theatrical production," Bayer said before asking of any of the councilmembers would be willing to personally tell the actors "that their theater is being taken away."

"Perhaps it is time to have a sale of councilmen instead of the North Point  Government Center so we can get some better models because the one we have isn't working for us," Bayer said.

Patricia Ullrich also pleaded with the council to not sell the center and save the theater group. She read a letter written by her granddaughter, Alyssa Ullrich, that was hand-written on loose-leaf notebook. The 12-year old student signed her name, dotting the "I" with a heart.

Ullrich, 12, through her grandmother, pleaded for the property and said she was concerned for the loss of the annual fireworks display on July 4.

"I just don't think that it's fair that you take this all away and if you do, you're meanies," the 7th grade student at Our Lady of Hope St. Luke School wrote. "I am not that educated in all this stuff but whatever you want to take away, don't."

Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Democrat who represents the area, told the audience that nothing would change even if the property were sold.

"I will have to tell you that the show will go on," Olszewski said to Michaela O'May. "And Ms. Ullrich, you can tell your granddaughter she can rest peacefully because nothing is going to happen to the fireworks. They will go on like they have gone on every year.

"Nothing is going to happen to the programs. The programs will continue . I said before and I'll say it again this evening: if anything were to happen to the programs that they didn't continue, I would not support [the sale]," Olszewski said.

BUD March 19, 2013 at 02:45 PM
The North Point Government Center is a 27.3 acre public park with open space and recreational facilities. The land provides benefits that can't be replaced!
BUD March 19, 2013 at 02:46 PM
http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheNorthPointGovernmentCenter
Buzz Beeler March 19, 2013 at 04:07 PM
The closing of the Eastwood School seals the fate of the Government Center. One dot leads to another in either direction. It's the proverbial - cart before the horse - but either way the horse is headed for the closing of the center. There is decision in the ranks as some key power brokers are out of favor over the Owings Mills development. It's not about the people, but more about the people in power.
ED March 19, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Buzz, the fate of the Government Center is not sealed by the announced closing of Eastwood. The dots don't align as well as you might think.
Michaela O'May March 19, 2013 at 09:45 PM
I would like to believe that there is a glimmer of hope for the Government Center...I do believe in miracles .... I am a realest..no matter what we may want it is those that we have elected..we trusted to do the right thing and hear us ... I am a realist...at the end of the day it's all about the money$. Let's see what do you think the developers have in mind....a DOLLAR store?....a NAIL SALON?...a HALF-WAY house? Perhaps we need to change the name of our town from Dundalk to DUMPDALK! Michaela O'May
Wayne Monroe March 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Sorry kids but your elected officials seldom have the public interest in mind.
Steve March 19, 2013 at 11:41 PM
They are acting like it's all Doom and Gloom when in reality they will end up with a much better facility. "Nothing is going to happen to the programs. The programs will continue . I said before and I'll say it again this evening: if anything were to happen to the programs that they didn't continue, I would not support [the sale]," Olszewski said.
Debbie Staigerwald March 20, 2013 at 12:03 AM
How many millions of dollars will it cost the county to replace our 650 seat theatre? Because that is what we have now!
John March 20, 2013 at 12:21 AM
It's a park, Steve, not a facility. Baltimore County can show everyone where our new 28 acre park will be located.It's about land, not programs.
Buzz Beeler March 20, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Debbie, good point. Ed, where do the dots lead? Why close a good school in a nice neighborhood and go through all that trouble if not for an ulterior motive? The only way for this to fail is when the bids are announced - what bang for the buck - the county receives because anything short of that will start a wildfire and besides our councilman is only one vote out of seven. After the Thistle Landing debacle with that PUD and the council turnaround, you really believe one vote means anything. It's sorta like a football team when the quarterback yells - huddle-up - and calls the play.
Ashley Virginia March 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Unless he gives me a legal binding paper stating this, I do not believe it. I do not trust any politician and I already think the Government needs to be completely looked at and go back to the origianl beliefs this country was founded on. HE is just another politician saving face with his district and then not doing anything for us in the long run. Steve, where will the facility be? Will it have everything we have now? How much will it cost to be built and what will happen to Lynh cove run? How will it be kept up? Questions that we have not had answers to.
Steve March 20, 2013 at 02:02 PM
"How many millions of dollars will it cost the county to replace our 650 seat theatre?" How many of those 650 seats did you ever have filled at one time?
Ashley Virginia March 20, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Wow! You are a jerk! and We have had completely SOLD OUT shows! Have you ever stepped foot into the theatre or seen a show there? Or the work we do there? Or the Money that WE have raised for the items we need for shows, curtains, etc? Maybe you should check things out before post inconsiderate remarks. I mean come on do we really need a truck stop or another empty shopping complex? We have not been guaranteed full replacement with storage and space for all of our equipement, costumes, set pieces and props. We USE every ounce of space that is in that theatre. If you actually Came to the theatre maybe you would know that.
Michaela O'May March 20, 2013 at 03:32 PM
BOTTOM LINE.... The Government Center housed many positive programs and became a POSITIVE staple in the Dundalk community....yes Mr. Steve I am sure they will go on but WHERE? How many of millions of dollars will it cost to do whatever the developers choose to do with the center? For once it would be nice if they invested the money in the young people who will eventually be the ones who will say who will be elected instead of how much $ will be generated from the highest bidder :(
Steve March 20, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Lighten Up Francis! I was just asking a question because I wanted to visualize how big a theatre with 650 seats would have to be considering the changes in codes since this place was built. Mainly because Americans are fatter today, the amount of SF per seat has expanded from 6.4 SF to over 9 SF. I don't think you would spend "millions and millions". A smaller theatre might be a lot nicer. Every project that I have seen where the theatre size was dictated by the commercial space went with a Courtyard type theatre. Instead of being all "Knee Jerky" you ought to look at this as an opportunity to maybe get a brand new place and be able to have some input into the design.
Michaela O'May March 20, 2013 at 04:36 PM
It's about the LAND....not people!
Steve March 20, 2013 at 04:50 PM
RFP's don't have to take the highest bidder, they take the "best" bid for the County. RFQ's go to the low/high bidder.
Michaela O'May March 20, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Ok my request for proposal is to leave it the way it is :)
Steve March 20, 2013 at 05:21 PM
10 years from now no one will even remember it.
Michaela O'May March 20, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Yes....just another "I remember when"....10 years from now I am sure no one will even recognize it!
Ashley Virginia March 20, 2013 at 05:36 PM
WE Will. This place is our home! We all are there as much as we can be and know the building by the back of our hand.
Chris March 20, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Steve- Your opinions reflect little understanding of the history of recreation in Baltimore County. North Point Government Center Park and all of its amenities were located within a walking distance of the surrounding community for very good reasons.
Michaela O'May March 20, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Remember the Strand Theater? Sir would you please enlighten us to what that historical landmark houses today?????? Oh I remember now...a DOLLAR STORE
kevin March 31, 2013 at 07:36 AM
Same O who swore he knew nothing until sale announced? What the Hell does his support mean? He is past his useful life for KK he is writing off Dundalk as lost.But thatis in General election if a candidate knocks himout of primary he is screwed but that won't happen .not enough Dundalkians will come out and vote in Primary .If they don't like KK they'll stay home he'll carry other areas enough to get to general election then no one wouldelect republican.Ted Venitoulis made same mistake He thought he had Southeast in pocket. If they voted wouldn't be enough,heck Dudalk complainig about drinking in parks after work in mills or GM they won't vote .Let them bitch I have to win the High class vote .Bit him RIGHT in ASS.
kevin March 31, 2013 at 07:42 AM
We paid for it Steve taxes from Point, GM Bought it .KK only cares about his beloved Pikesville they didn't pay for it. Build it in Pikesville. There plenty of land out there that KK haslet special interest keep as public land and run private money making recreation facilities out of.But they are friends of KK aren't they .If you want to play I'm ready Steve I know WHERE the bodies are buried.
kevin March 31, 2013 at 07:49 AM
Hey Fool did you ever hear about DVD and cable ? Your arguement is straight up Trash.The Seanator is still there isn't it ? why ? because of politics the fact is NPGC supports far more than the Senator and you've had the city and state fund that haven't we. Bringing up a private business compared to a neighborhood school /recreation center and public use facility is straight up arrogance.See what you get when you elect someone from the OTHER side of town?Thanks Johnny O ,Joe Bartenfelder wouldn't allow this. This being Easter weekend how much was the thirty pieces og gold KK gave you to screw JOE?
Lois Bowers April 05, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Yeah, O says that the programs will continue, what he doesn't say is that they won't be in the same buildings. He talks like every other politician. He says what the people want to hear, not the truth. The thing is that everyone in Dundalk keeps voting him in. He needs to go!
kevin May 08, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Why then is KK hiding bids ? Is it Best bid for baltimore County or best bid for KK. ? I Swear Iheard The Wire was canceled I didn't know they changed the Name to Baltimore County Goverment The KK Years. Why Did KK Spend county lawyers time and money protecting Developers from County residents? It was in Sunpapers this morning .
Michaela O'May May 22, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Well a Hello to you too. Not familiar with The " Seanator" (Fool) but I am with The SENATOR which is located on York Road. Also this is a historic building due mainly to it's Art Deco architectural design. Architect was John Jacob Zink ...known for designing movie houses in Baltimore & D.C. The Senator was built in 1939. Comparing NPGC to a building from the OTHER side of town...well although The Senator did allow movie goers first run movies as well as the classics NPGC allows the community first hand to live theater, rec football, chorus and much more! and best of all you don't have to reference a DVD or cable. Attacking me on a building that you can't even spell let alone is not even located in the Dundalk area...arrogance is yours...STRAIGHT UP!
kevin June 05, 2013 at 05:12 AM
Michaela O'May this is Very late but just read follow up if you ever read this .Well I'll be happy.I screwed up I was so mad at various posts going on that week in all blogs etc I didn't pay proper attention.You weren't saying that you wanted or didn't care if a Dollar store ended up there.Which I misunderstood.I felt that outsiders screwed Dundalk and made a fool of myself because there were articles posted on various blogs etc that compared anyone defending NPGC to the Senator.Comparing a building to land .I just now saw your post and reread string you are one who deserves praise for standing up and trying.I on the other hand let steve get me so riled up I clumped you with him.Sometimes he puts so many posts in a row I make mistake Don't take time to read and credit each individual post.So you may Never see this but I apologize.By the way it wasn't Steve's fault I messed up when I say he strings so many posts that is his right.I made the mistake.I hope you accept my apology and keep fighting the good fight.Good job in calling me out Sorry I just saw my mistake.

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