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Legislative Update: Proposed Sale of North Point Center

Del John Olszewski Jr. weighs in on the proposed sale of the North Point Government Center and the proposed closure of Eastwood Elementary Magnet School.

The Baltimore County administration recently announced that it will be issuing an SFP—solicitation for proposals—that would sell the North Point Government Center and transfer the police station to where the Eastwood School is currently located, with proceeds from a sale being used to fund air conditioning in area schools.

There are also two other parcels in other parts of Baltimore County that would be sold. These include a fire station in Towson and a police sub-station in Randallstown.

While I have long been a supporter of additional funding for air conditioning in our schools, there are many questions that remain surrounding the proposal that need to be answered before any plan is finalized. Once these questions are answered, it is absolutely critical that community input must be sought and incorporated. Simply stated, the project should not be finalized before all questions are answered and citizens have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue.

Indeed, the most important question is if and how impacted stakeholders and members of the community might have the opportunity to come together with county leaders to discuss, in an informed manner, the practical implications of these decisions. In weighing in on the issue, there are certainly economic development benefits (for example, jobs and additional tax revenue) that are worth considering as part of the sale of the center, and there are also many valid concerns that could be raised and should be addressed (increased traffic, for example).

Additionally, there are the questions about how and where programming will continue for the various activities currently housed at the government center: the Sky is the Limit Theatre, Dundalk-Eastfield Recreation Council activities, the Chorus of the Chesapeake, the Department of Natural Resources Service Station, the offices of elected officials, the 4th of July Fireworks, meeting
locations for community groups, and the Alliance.

Other questions include if Eastwood Elementary is being torn down or if the existing building would be used for a new police precinct, and what options are available for students currently enrolled in Eastwood.

Each of these questions deserves an answer before the public is asked to render its judgment on the overall proposal and before any final decisions are made.

In sum, it is important that the community be both informed about what is being proposed (having all of their questions answered), but also given a chance to actually participate in a dialogue about a project that may likely have a major impact upon the future of our area. I strongly believe that projects are better when people are able to voice their concerns, and offer their suggestions for improvement. This issue should be no exception.

Ultimately, if the administration deems an SFP to be acceptable, they must present it to the County Council for approval. Given that fact, I encourage all residents to ask questions that are important to them, become educated on this important issue, and voice their opinions (in support, in opposition, or to improve the project) to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Councilman John Olszewski, Sr.

Sam Battle January 02, 2013 at 11:17 AM
What a sad day in Baltimore County. They have yet again put Money $$$$ in front of our Kids Education. Why close down a perfectly good school "eastwood" that is turning out great kids and make it a police station to cater to criminals when the police station already in dundalk is in the perfect spot and located in right spot for dealing with Dundalks ever growing crime issues ??? And can you believe it ?? They have already decided to do all of this in name of $$$$$$ and as of yet to tell the Parents where the Kids from "Eastwood" will be going ?? What is wrong with this picture.. I will tell you $$$$$. And I am sure one of these crooked fools in Annapolis Friends wants this land in Dundalk and hell with the Kids. They say it is about A/C for other Schools.. Make them put it in writing...Many years ago these same fools in Office changed the way Children are put into schools grades in certain schools to better educate our Children and now when $$$ is waved in their faces they want to put young kids in a Juinor High School where crime is high and troubles are always in the making and subject our young minds to the older kids issues without giving these young kids a chance to grow before forcing them with older kids in juinor high problems. Yet another example where these fools in ofice have sold out our children for the sake of $$$$$$. And the worse part is citizens of this area will vote these same fools in office after this and force more crap like this down our throats.
Sam Battle January 02, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Yea you want a perfect spot for a Police Station for Dundalk ?? How about as you Mr Del John Olszewski Jr stated in another article. Use the "" Essentially vacant Diamond Point Shopping Center "" It is in the perfect location for a police station and away from residental housing and located right next to the interstates going and coming out of dundalk and the lot is large enough to expand if needed to hold the extra criminals from dundalk down the road and not have to relocate this police station for years to come and at the same time save "Eastwood School" And also will solve a "Eyesore " area this shopping center has became over the years.
Bruce Kahl January 02, 2013 at 11:59 AM
How about the bowling alley at east point or next to the new McDonald's
Rich Foot January 02, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Regardless that the existing plan is to tear down the soon-to-be vacated Dundalk High School, it would be an excellent interim location for all the North Point stakeholders. Having previously taught in the building for many years, It is not dysfunctional or falling apart, it is simply showing it's age as any older structure would. The Police would have significant additional space- including the front office and all the attached administrative offices, the Theater group would have a stage, the Alliance would have numerous rooms to provide services. With ample parking and easy access, as well as being adjacent to the Homeland Security programs of the new school and police academy at CCBC, not to mention the athletic facilities, it seems a whole lot more amenable and resource-efficient to reallocate Dundalk High School as the new Government Center, until a permanent solution can be found.
fred January 02, 2013 at 12:53 PM
any move to any of the mentioned locations would just move the precinct closer to the essex station than it would be to the greater dundalk area. that is not acceptable.
Bea Beast January 02, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Where is your Dad, Johnny?
Al Day January 02, 2013 at 06:01 PM
With a dwindling tax base and ever increasing expenses its no wonder the county is scrambling to find money anyhow it can.
Save the North Point Government Center January 02, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Baltimore County Press Release 12-11 "Being able to attract quality redevelopment to one of the most visible corners in Dundalk will be a real boon to the local economy," said 7th Councilman John Olszewski. "I also applaud Dr. Dance for thinking of creative ways to utilize Holabird Middle School. That allows us to avoid closing a middle school, air condition additional elementary schools in the area, while creating space for a newly renovated police precinct. This is really a win-win for Dundalk." Really?
Save the North Point Government Center January 02, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Baltimore County Press Release 12-11 In today's world, effective management of resources is a necessity," said Barry Williams, Director of Recreation and Parks. "I want to assure the entire recreation and parks community that my staff will work hand-in-hand with them to relocate programs that are currently housed at both North Point and Eastwood Magnet Elementary School. There is no doubt that we will be able to accommodate each and every program, and we won't miss a beat." Not true!
Pamela Pfeifer January 02, 2013 at 06:44 PM
All these politicians are offering empty promises. The schools will not get the $$$. What happen to the $$$ from the casinos. How much more $$$ are you going to promise and not follow through. I think BCPS people need to stand up for our children and stop listening to the asswholes who are destroying the schools. And to think it's no a big deal...well it is and it is going to affect the children of our future. Johnny Sr and Kevin are also asking for your input...well you have our input...HELLO...use the other vacant buildings that are available. NO ONE ELSE IS! But they aren't listening and are going to do what they want, not matter what, because it's not about what we say it's about how much $$ they will be in THEIR POCKETS!!!!
Save the North Point Government Center January 02, 2013 at 06:51 PM
http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheNorthPointGovernmentCenter
Save the North Point Government Center January 02, 2013 at 07:07 PM
From Dundalk Eagle 1-3 Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told The Eagle at a Dec. 20 event in Dundalk that the proposed location of the Eastwood school was selected by the police department and not by Baltimore County. “We are not telling the police where to go,” Kamenetz explained. “Crime is at record lows in the county, so police must know what they’re doing.” Elise Armacost, a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department, released a statement about the proposed move. “The decision to sell the North Point Government Center, as well as other properties in Towson and Randallstown, was made by the County Executive. [He] made that decision as part of the broad initiative he announced earlier this month to sell those properties, replace them and use the proceeds for school needs,” Armacost wrote.
Bread and Cheese Creek January 02, 2013 at 08:57 PM
The negative environmental impact from the sale of the North Point Government Center (NPGC) would have staggering long term consequence to the community and its; citizens. The recreation fields behind the NPGV contain multiple baseball diamonds, a basketball court, soccer court and vast green space for soccer, football or any other sport our children could enjoy. None of the other fields in the Dundalk area are close to this size and many are contaminated by past industry usage. Dundalk has one of the highest non-permeable to permeable surface areas of Baltimore County further exacerbating our already critical stormwater management and erosion problem. The area is also bordered by Lynch Cover Run Stream which drains into the Historic Bear Creek. The Small Watershed Action Plan (SWAP) for Bear Creek which was just released in December denoted Lynch Cove Run as a critical stream which requires largest natural buffer areas around it not less. Our children deserve a safe environment to play outdoors and we need to work together com cleanup the Dundalk area, not contaminate it further with more concrete and trash.
Leroy W Brazelton January 08, 2013 at 12:18 AM
There are numerous locations in Dundalk that are not being utilized, including the near empty shopping center across the street and along the Merritt Blvd. corridor also these shopping centers have numerous vacant stores. Also an empty shopping center on Eastern Avenue, Eastpoint mall is mostly empty. Why can't the politicians explain why they need to sell this premier centerpiece of Dundalk to their cronies. What is so important that they need to do this to the citizens who elected them. If this is done the incumbents who are trashing Dundalk must be voted out.
Marybeth M January 08, 2013 at 05:05 AM
Well this explains why the SHA just happened to "find some extra money" and decided to re-do Merritt Blvd from Holabird/Wise Aves. to Peninsula Expressway this spring. Things just seem to fall into place in this state. The executive powers in Towson and Annapolis know what's up and I bet our reps. do too.
Alicia January 08, 2013 at 06:13 PM
While the North Point Government Center is starting to show its age, it serves the purposes we ask of it. I have several issues with the proposal. The police station is currently in a prime location. I live 4 blocks away and it already takes them 20 minutes to get to my house for a call. Moving them closer the city serves no purpose. Do they not also cover the sparrows point area? Also, there is no single open space in the community that could compare to the fields we would be losing behind the government center. we may acquire the same "space" in any proposed sale, but it will divided up into a field here and a field there. If the county needs to make some money, fine, tear down Eastwood and mix them with Holabird and Norwood. Sell the eastwood property. That will bring in enough money to give the schools air conditioning you want to . so tired of the east side getting dumped on so everywhere else in this county can look good.
Laura f January 08, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I can't believe someone just recommended selling/tearing down Eastwood elementary. What has this school done to deserve this? My children attend this school and it is a great school, it isn't underutilized as stated by politicians or underachieving. I don't believe anyone would want their elementary aged children thrown into an overcrowded elementary or put them with middle schoolers. Shame on you. We should be working together not throwing anyone out to slaughter.
tim sapp January 08, 2013 at 07:46 PM
this won't happen in affluent areas of the county!!! towson keeps park while dundalk gets nothing. what we get is empyt buildings, defunct steel mills, empty industrial area.that our county execs promised to revitalize. they take a school away throw kindergarteners in mith 8th graders and say, hey you got air conditioning now shut up and be happy!!! no way!!!
tim sapp January 08, 2013 at 07:53 PM
the plans to move the police station has fast tracked our plans to move out of the eastwood area (notably it has been in decline due to the shift in population). the new police station will no doubt decrease the property value here and the loss of my child's school sickens me. but no way will i allow the county to dump my child into holabird middle!!! the reason people leave the are is due to the lack of good schools, eastwood was a gem and now that gem will be stolen from the area that needs the best schools. where will the money go from the sale of the property, not dundalk!!!
The Riddler January 08, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Not going to happen Mr. Foot. Dundalk High School Athletic stadium is going there. Unless they want to take that away from the kids too. Just like they are taking away the Government Center from the Eastfield Soccer program and dundalk wrestling and all the other organizations in the building.
The Riddler January 08, 2013 at 08:54 PM
When the county announced that they were closing the Old Sollers School that affected the Turner Station Backetball program and people down their cried and complained and what did the county do, They built them a brand new beautiful facility that is state of the art with stadium seating and upscaled scoreboard and all. Now County wants to take our rec center away and were not going down without a fight. If you want to take it away we want something in return like you did for Turner Station. There is 7 acres of land behind the Giant on Merritt Blvd and there is also a 2 acre lot owned by the Dundalk Democratic club that they may be willing to sell. Eastfield spent 10,000.00 to renovate the soccer facility about 4 yrs ago and we paid for it with money that Eastfield Rec raised themselves. Where was Baltimore County then. No Where as usually!!! Don't need to sell building now for money for Air conditioned schools etc. O'malley just said he has millions of dollars for that now.

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