By Mary K. Tilghman
2:29 PM EDT, September 18, 2012
The Halethorpe Improvement Association has a new president.
Carol Mox, the recording secretary, has succeeded Michael McAuliffe, who plans to remain on the board.
When McAuliffe decided against a second term, Mox was the only one to put her name in nomination to lead the 240-household association.
She was expected to take over the duties of the presidency following the group's Sept. 18 meeting.
"I'm very excited about my role as president of the Halethorpe Improvement Association," Mox said. "I believe our community looks good and that means something good is going on."
Mox spoke with pride about the group's efforts to enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood and said she hopes to attract new members, organize community service projects that residents can get involved in and work on safety issues in the community.
Some projects are ongoing, she said, such as a 2-mile pedestrian loop project that still needs sidewalks along some stretches.
"The hard part is finding money," Mox said. "I think eventually it will happen."
Mox praised McAuliffe, Vice President Charles Kokoski and treasurer Gerry Bowler, as well the group's board of directors and its members for making so much happen in the community.
Former association President Sandy Cullen is chairwoman of the board, which also includes Joe Grusch, Joe Kinsey, Steve Moran, Michele Sanders, Jack Schaefer and Thomas Sullivan.
"I can rely on them and I feel confident we'll continue on our mission of preserving and enhancing the quality of life in our community," said Mox, a 32-year-resident of Halethorpe.
Mox was active with the PTSA at Western School of Technology and Environmental Science when her son was a student there. Following his graduation, she hoped to become involved with community organizations.
That plan was sidetracked when her husband of 30 years became ill. He died in June, 2010.
An executive brokerage assistant with NAI/KLNB, a commercial real estate firm, Mox joined the HIA leadership as recording secretary two years ago.
"I had time," she said. "I wanted to join something within this community and this opportunity presented itself."
She said she is looking forward to continuing to work with McAuliffe after he leaves office.
"Mike has been a driving force for this association," she said, calling his efforts "unrelenting."
The last three years have been a challenge, McAuliffe said.
"In ways it has been fun, exciting, and rewarding but more so it has been an incredible amount of work for me," he wrote in the latest issue of the community association's newsletter. "This workload, coupled with my career and family obligations, has become exhausting. My wife and two daughters have sacrificed as well."
Tasks he said he was unaccustomed to, such as organizing meetings, writing articles and handling mountains of paperwork, were the most daunting.
"I think I did a good job," he said Sept. 14..
"I bit a lot off and I've had to chew a lot," he said with a laugh.
Hands-on projects, such as beautification projects and maintenance of public spaces, made the last three years rewarding, too, he added.
When prodded, McAuliffe listed a few accomplishments:
• the first Fourth of July breakfast and flag raising that attracted 60 participants and representation for the first time in the annual Arbutus Fourth of July Parade,
• lively association meetings with good attendance, a friendly social time, food and entertainment,
• a candidates' forum that attracted all the local candidates for Congress, State Senate, House of Delegates and County Council and an audience of about 100 people;
• beautification projects such as care of the median between Carville and Oregon avenues, the open spaces by the Francis Avenue bridge and creation of the Waelchli Avenue wall garden.
It's those last projects that McAuliffe said are the most important.
"I want to focus on these," he said. "If I lose focus on these, I'll lose volunteers."
One of his most daunting challenges almost since the moment he took office was the presence of the adult video store on Southwestern Boulevard.
He said the community association worked with county code enforcement officials to have the exterior display cases and then the interior viewing booths removed.
When booths were reinstalled, the community association, working with the Huntsmoor Park Community Association, won a temporary injunction in April to have them removed.
McAuliffe noted that the hearing for a permanent injunction still hasn't been scheduled.
"It has marked my presidency," he said. "It has been the whole three years."
McAuliffe, 48, an electronics technician for the Maryland Transit Administration subway, said he was thankful for the support he received from his neighbors — and his family.
With his dining room now cleared of the paperwork the HIA president accumulates, he said he hopes to have more space, and time, to spend with them and to volunteer at his teen daughters' school, Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville.
In addition to hands-on projects at the Catholic high school on Academy Road, he's also looking forward to getting to those jobs in the neighborhood.