At this time of year, it is a natural instinct for all of us to look back and review what took place during the past twelve months. 2013 was certainly a year for important developments here in Perry Hall -- many of which will come to fruition during 2014.
For me, one of the most significant aspects of the past year was the dramatic progress that was made on continuously "greening" our community. No fewer than three park projects got under way during 2013: Perry Paw Dog Park, Gough Park, and an expansion of the trail network at Indian Rock Park. Each of these projects will offer residents of northeastern Baltimore County even greater access to a broad range of parks, recreational, and open space amenities.
Our parks weren't the only public amenities that were enhanced during the year. In the summer of 2013, it was announced that a series of service expansions were coming to the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL). Starting in September 2013, Sunday hours were added for all branches year-round, while four smaller, satellite branches benefited from the addition of staff. Historically, just four BCPL branches were open on Sundays year-round with nine others open on Sundays from September through May. Now, all BCPL branches are open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. all year-round. Lastly, hours were added at the nearby Loch Raven Branch so the branch is open for the same number of hours per week as other branches throughout the system.
To accomplish this expansion of hours and strengthening of satellite services without incurring substantial additional costs, BCPL carefully evaluated staffing levels at all branches. Based on results of the evaluation, changes were made that allow for expanded services including setting up a rotation for both full and part-time staff to cover Sunday hours and the movement of some positions around the system to strengthen satellite branches. During challenging economic times, the ability to increase staff efficiency and productivity represent smart ways of doing more with the same, or perhaps less.
Perhaps one of the most festive occasions has been the celebration of the 50th anniversary of our very own Perry Hall High School (PHHS). This series of events kicked off in September with the placement of a time capsule, containing a series of artifacts that were collected to symbolize various aspects of PHHS history. I was honored that a book that Sean Kief and I authored related to the history of Perry Hall Mansion was one of the items included in this collection. The time capsule will be opened fifty years from now, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the high school.
Over the next couple of days, folks from all around Perry Hall will be celebrating the arrival of the new year. In the midst of your own festivities, take the time to ask yourself what you think some of the nicest developments was for Perry Hall?? What are you most looking forward to during the year to come?? And of course, get ready for a fabulous 2014!