April 3, 2014 7:03 am ET
Noted Dundalk author and writer Bob Staab speaks out for Dundalk United
The following letter was received by Dundalk author and writer Bob Staab. It is published as written.
Once again the County Administration with help from the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation is attempting to take advantage of the Dundalk Area.
In a very clandestine move the County Administration sold the North Point Government Center (Recreation & Parks Center) for 2.1 million dollars even though it was appraised for 8.75 million dollars.
It was sold under the disguise that the building was “Falling Down.” North Point was built in the mid 1950s unlike many of the schools in the area which were built in the 20s, 30s, & 40s and are still functioning well as schools and as various other centers. Any discrepancies in North Point were as a result on the County’s part of benign neglect, and even with the county’s neglect it has still maintained a very good condition. The phase “Falling Down” was the County’s method of justifying the sell-off of a valuable piece of County parkland to commercial developers. Even though there are over a hundred and sixty documented vacant stores, shops and offices in the near by vicinity.
For over half a century, the North Point School Recreation Center and then Government Center has been the focal point for athletic and performing arts programs in the general area. The center’s close proximity to densely populated residential homes and walk to recreation, made it that much more essential to the communities.
The Eastfield-Stanbrook community should be given considerable credit for the center’s success. Programs and participation was prolific with nearly every type of sport possible and a strong assortment of performing arts programs including plays, musicals, concerts, “Chorus of The Chesapeake”, “Sweet Adelines” and of course “The Sky’s The Limit, ” a program especially designed for challenged children and adults. Primarily, people from neighborhoods surrounding the North Point Center labored to coach, supervise and hold a multitude of fund raisers to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to the programs. It was these people who shed the blood, sweat and tears to see the programs at North Point be one of the most successful in the County. It was these people who have earned a vested interest in what should happen to the facility and not an outside organization funded by County, State and Federal funds who have no present or future vested interest in the facility.
The people of the communities surrounding the Center were not consulted and if anything, information on the sale of the center and property was withheld from the citizens. DRC strongly supported the sale of North Point for commercial development and continuously interferes with the local communities’ desires for development of the remaining recreational property. Despite the insistence of the DRC that they represent the needs of the entire Dundalk area, they are only a part of the area and should not have the final say.
Supposedly, the sale of the North Point Center to Vanguard was to be contingent on a PUD agreement with the County that would provide 15 acres to commercial development and 12.7 acres to the recreational aspects of the site in agreement with the local community. It was not until the last of March, 2014 that the Recreation Council received a scaled drawing of the site, and few of the items they had requested were included on the site plan. However, despite the insistence of the Recreation Council to exclude several items as not being compatible with the neighborhood and other programs, they remained on the proposed site plan.
Such as: 1. An outside Ampi-theatre which the community feels would support night time vagrancy, Rock Type Concerts, skateboarding and could pose health concerns as well as noise pollution is not wanted. The Community does feel strongly in favor of an indoor auditorium to support the many programs they currently conduct.
2. A parking area near Merritt Point Blvd. baseball diamond. The parking lot as designed would take much needed square footage of the recreational property. Both parking lots as designed would be entirely too close to the diamonds and would leave parked cars vulnerable to foul balls. The parking lots would only be beneficial to Vanguard since the construction would be funded from the recreation side and would be maintained and supervised by the County.
The plan as submitted by Vanguard, in addition to those items already mentioned, appear to be a complete travesty. If one looks at the amount of acreage for the Shopping Center, 15 acres and the amount for the recreational aspects, 12.7 acres, by sight alone, I doubt that the amount allocated to recreation is even 10 acres. The parking areas beneath the high tension wires are not part of the original 27.43 acres at North Point. Although, Vanguard may be able to give away property, that does not belong to them under the high tension wires for parking, I’m sure they will not be allowed to place multipurpose courts as designed under the high tension wires.
We need your help. On April 10, 2014 there will be a pre PUD meeting at the new Dundalk High School auditorium at 5:30 P.M. Please make every effort to attend to keep Dundalk from being dumped on again! Keep The Fireworks.
Please pass this memo on to your Email friends.
This memo was furnished by personal funds, not County, State, or Federal funds or grants.
Bob Staab and Dundalk United