Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Janet, Stop Horsing Around

Well, despite numerous citizen and internal efforts to halt the ill conceived project, it appears that the County is intent on proceeding with the development of the Smith Farm off College Parkway in Arnold. The project, aimed at getting the County 1.5 more ballfields has been the picture of poor County/community relations, and should it go through, presents a serious threat to the headwaters of Whitehall Creek. The 12-acre property was originally sold to the County for far less than market value, essentially under the condition that it remain a working equestrian center. Since the sale, the County has betrayed the seller's intent, decided to completely alter the terrain of the site, and put a road through its middle, when a far better site for ballfields lies less than 5 miles away. A former Nike missle site off of the Route 50 access road, could easily support 4 or more fields, and is already a fairly flat, open space. Re-grading the Smith farm site would require that hundreds of thousands of tons of dirt be moved from the site, presumably via enormous dumptrucks (which do wonders for the road surface) and dumped elsewhere. Where? you guessed it, likely the Nike site. Once disturbed, this sediment will surely find its way into Whitehall Creek and the Magothy River. This project fails on so many different levels it's distressing to see the County continue to keep pushing it.

The Department of Public Works will be holding a hearing to discuss providing the $250,000 for the project tomorrow at 10 a.m. on the 2nd floor of the State House, in the Governor's Reception Room. Word is, if you want to get a seat, be there by 9:30 a.m. It's important that concerned citizens, particularly those interested in protecting the environment attend and speak out against the project.



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