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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.

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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