Help Save Patapsco State Park
Dear Bay Weekly:
The park that I visit most frequently with my children is Patapsco State Park, part of the Maryland State Park system. It is a cooling relief from the heat of technology-riddled life, both for them and for me. Interestingly, these parklands do not appear to be a priority for many or at least not for those in a position of decision-making in our state.
In October there was a hearing orchestrated by the State Highway Administration, with serious attention to expert display boards, PowerPoint presentations and thorough attention to maps, inches and numbers.
On the table was a proposal to develop I-295 and Hanover Road in Anne Arundel County, project AA372A11. Bully for big business and their concrete buildings with 20-foot signage and four-lane driveways. Three cheers for development at the expense of fauna and flora.
Mind you, I’m not against business development; economists and politicians are right to want healthy fiscal growth for our communities. However, this most recent project includes some sacrifices we should not be willing to tolerate.
Included in the proposal is the elimination of three-plus acres of Patapsco State Park, 36 acres of forest area, wetlands and streams. In addition, the development would potentially increase traffic on the rest of undeveloped Hanover Road, a small winding 25-mile-per-hour country road, with limited visibility and frequent bicyclists. (The state bike trail connects with Hanover and the park as well.) People would be at risk. Flora and fauna would be desecrated.
We have been presented with an expansion-equals-economic-growth proposal that does not adequately consider the injurious consequences to human life and wildlife.
At the hearing, I spoke with a former resident of the area. His ownership of property in the project area ledx him straight to the opposite side of the development table. Standing to reap a lucrative prize from the project win, he willingly advocated for his wallet as an alternative to the preservation of natural resources and community well-being.
In an effort to dissuade such careless development, we are outnumbered. The Highway Administration has ample resources to push the development through. Local business and Joe Entrepreneur have ample funds and voice to assist the Highway Administration. Those of us with concerns surrounding the development have only power in numbers; together we can implore that the administration complete additional research and exploration into the possibility of pursing a greener development, without eliminating state park acreage and without jeopardizing the safety of our citizenry.
Tell your state legislators: the elimination of state park acreage is felt in everyone’s jurisdiction.
Ava Spece, Howard County
Another Dispatch from Our Global Village
Dear Bay Weekly:
I am writing because I am doing a lot of research on my grandfather, Harold J. Heikkila. The reason I am writing you is because he was a tail gunner on Merrill Scharmen’s plane, Patches. I have seen articles and pictures from Merrill and his wife Audrey on-line, and I was wondering if they were still around the area.
Luke Heikkila, Hoyt Lakes Minnesota
Editor’s note: Readers will remember that Audrey Scharmen, of Lusby, has written reflections for Bay Weekly since 1993, our first year. Her husband, Merrill, was a young bomber pilot in World War II.