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Councilman Marks: A Preview of Important Milestones in 2013

In 2012, we made progress in preserving open space throughout the Fifth District. Much of our work in 2013 will focus on improvements to commercial areas from Towson to Perry Hall.

Over the past two years, our office has worked to improve communities throughout the Fifth District, from Towson to Perry Hall. Some of these projects are big, such as the additions at Stoneleigh and Hampton Elementary School or air conditioning at Seven Oaks Elementary School. Other projects are small, but will have a measurable impact on our neighborhoods-- road improvements in Towson Manor Village and Loch Raven Village, for example, or new acreage at Honeygo Run Park in Perry Hall. I would like to thank the County Executive and our state legislators for their help with a number of these initiatives. 

My main focus in 2012 was preserving open space in our neighborhoods. 2012 was a rezoning year, and I used it as an opportunity to try to protect green space. Acting on my recommendations, the County Council downzoned more than 417 acres, the most ambitious plan in two decades in this part of Baltimore County, and the most land ever downzoned in Towson, Carney, and Cromwell Valley. The Fifth District now has more land zoned as open space than any other district in Baltimore County. 

It is impossible to predict exactly what 2013 may offer the Fifth District, but we do know there will be some important milestones. 

In Towson, the newly-renovated Stoneleigh Elementary School will open in August. More than $38 million has been invested in Towson's schools, but we need to work to make sure that all of our schools have adequate classroom space. Redevelopment will accelerate in the Towson core, which means we need to address important needs such as security, maintenance, and traffic. There will be a resolution of the Towson fire station issue and also changes to the magnet policy, which particularly impacts Cromwell Valley Elementary School. I will continue to work with BGE to make sure electrical service becomes more reliable, particularly in places like western Towson, Campus Hills, and Hillendale Park. 

In Loch Raven and Parkville, one of my biggest priorities will be the impact of the Hess settlement on the Yakona Road neighborhood. Some road improvements will occur along the Joppa Road corridor, and we will hopefully have a new Baltimore NeighborSpace acquisition near the Harford/Joppa Road intersection, guaranteeing open space for the Carney community. 

In Perry Hall, one of my main priorities will be the beautification of the commercial area at Belair, Ebenezer, and Joppa Roads. Thanks to legislation passed by the County Council in 2011, this is now a revitalization district which offers special incentives to business owners. The resurfacing of Chapel Road will be finished, and hopefully so will the trail along Indian Rock Park. I expect progress on projects like the Perry Hall dog park and the renovation of the Perry Hall Mansion. 2013 is also the 50th anniversary for two local landmarks: the Perry Hall library and Perry Hall High School. 

In closing, I want to wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year. It is an honor to represent the citizens of the Fifth District.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

KR January 01, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Another milestone is the overdue dismissal of the Gunpowder ES principal. You need to become aware of the circumstances behind this. You have other such situations in your district that are about to unfold.
kevin January 01, 2013 at 11:49 PM
I'm not sure if Mr.Marks or KK is responsible for this but maybe Mr. Marks can help so Baltimore county Elderly DO NOT face this dilemma next year. Our last recycling pickup in Parkville was December 19,2012 the next will be January 8,2013 that is 21 days.Which in the spirit of single stream recycling as it is written is most of my neighborhoods trash hasn't been picked up in THREE WEEKS. During the period Christmas which has the HIGHEST amount of paper and cardboard trash of the year .Many people were FORCED to throw trash in general trash which shows the County doesn't really care about the enviroment.I took my trash and some elderly neighbors (who were so upset because they thought they were doing something for enviroment)to collection sites I have a car and couldn't lie to them so I brought it there. They honestly were scared to call and complain they are older and believe Parkville being Republican Mr K.K. won't send out plows .I told them he wouldn't do that and I don't believe he would.But older people who've grown up in Baltimore County have seen this type of retaliation. I just think Mr.KK should put out a message explaining hopefully it was a mistake and won't happen again.There must be someway to make up for these pickups three weeks is ridiculous now many have lost belief in our county commitment to recycling.Have to wonder is it real? Or just a way to pay off recycling disposal companies political contributions?
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 12:18 AM
KR, please feel free to contact me at dmarks@baltimorecountymd.gov.
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Kevin, thank you for your comments. For the record, our family experienced the same problem. Our recycling is on Tuesday morning, so we did not have recycling pick-up on Christmas Day or New Year's Day. We ended up taking a load to the recycling area at the Pulaski Highway landfill, but I know not every household can do this. I intend to ask if there is a way to accommodate those whose recycling falls into this schedule every December and January.
Lablover January 02, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Mr. Marks, I was just wondering what is your feeling toward all of the lawsuits that Baltimore County is losing and paying out huge sums of money? The majority of them have to deal with the Baltimore County Police Department and initiated by Fred Homan. Any past or present county employee knows how vindictive Mr. Homan is yet you never hear any response from Kevin Kamenetz and certainly nothing from the county council, other than "no comment" or "we'll look into it."
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 01:02 AM
The County Council has worked productively with the County Executive on the overall budget and several cost-cutting initiatives, and certainly there is none of the acrimony you find in Washington, D.C. Having said that, the County Council is a distinct branch of government, and our job is to ask questions and to respectfully disagree when appropriate. Last spring, for example, a majority of the Council disagreed with the executive branch on a labor-related bill. Regarding the lawsuits, the costs have certainly been noticed. There are a number of private discussions between the Council and the executive branch, and several of us also talk regularly to stakeholder groups like the Fraternal Order of Police to learn its perspective as well.
Lablover January 02, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Mr. Marks, thank you for your reply. Unfortunately Mr. Homan will continue to run the county and do whatever he pleases and not be held accountable for all the stupid lawsuits/harassment cases that originated from his office. It's a shame Mr. Kamenetz doesn't have the courage (I cleaned this up!) to fire him.
Born to be Free January 02, 2013 at 01:55 AM
So far, so great Mr. Marks. I like how we are preserving lands. It just want this areas needs. I hope to see plenty of people use the Indian Rock Park to take joyous walks. What more lands more you feel in Perry Hall need to be preserved?
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 02:09 AM
I have always said that western Perry Hall needs a large community park. The neighborhoods between Seven Courts Drive and Gunpowder Elementary School developed without the type of open space that was reserved in eastern Perry Hall. Unfortunately, funding is very tight and I know there are limited priorities for open space acquisition throughout the county. We recently announced that the eight wooded acres north of Seven Oaks Elementary School will be preserved as a conservation area--not an active park, but at least protected from development.
Kathy B January 02, 2013 at 03:15 AM
David- re Christmas and New Year's recycling: that happened to us a few years ago. Now we have a new trash/recycling company, through Baltimore Co. They are super! Tomorrow they are picking up both trash and recycling just as they did last Wednesday. Perhaps some of the other companies could be asked to provide this same great service. As Kevin said, with the lack of recycling on the day after Christmas, tons and tons of recycling is trashed instead. Of course, different households are affected each year, as Christmas falls on different days of the week.
Donna McDonough January 02, 2013 at 03:17 PM
David, you mentioned the dog park. What is its status? It seems to have been on the drawing board for a long time. Also, is there a map to look at to see all of the open space areas in Perry Hall? I've been living here for awhile now, but I'm not sure exactly where they all actually are. Thanks.
Wayne January 02, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Good job David! Keep it up!
John Doe January 02, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Good luck in 2013, Councilman Marks. You can't please everybody, so don't even try. Do what you think is best.
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Thank you all.
Tim January 02, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Someone mentioned on another thread that an alternative option is to put your recycling out on a nearby street that isn't on the same schedule as you. This is practical if you live in a population dense area (townhome or single family home within multiple subdivisions).
Tim January 02, 2013 at 08:51 PM
This. Keep up the great work David!
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Hi, Donna - we have actually made some progress on the dog park this year. We only secured county approval for the Honeygo Park location in March and the committee has raised about $20,000 in private funding. Other dog parks have taken several years to get built. I don't know of one map (other than an ADC map) that shows all the parkland, but the environmental conservation areas are identified here: http://perryhall.patch.com/articles/38-acres-dedicated-as-perry-hall-green-space-conservation
David Marks January 02, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Sorry, in the post below I meant "in 2012."
Save the North Point Government Center January 03, 2013 at 05:16 AM
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