Stuempfle said he told the students that the overall picture of Edgewood is not accurate, as about 10 percent of its total area – two square miles out of 18 – has crime, while the safe areas remain safe.

Improvements for pedestrians

The State Highway Administration is spearheading a project to improve pedestrian connections along Route 755, in what will be the second phase of the project.

Phase 2 will focus on Route 744 from Willoughby Beach Road to the train station and will add bicycle lanes, aesthetic improvements, sidewalks, landscape plantings, improved drainage and utility improvements.

"Like" exploreharford's Facebook page

The project is basically on schedule and has about 50 percent of its design complete, Dennis German, of SHA, told the council.

One key improvement at the Willoughby Beach crossing will make it easier for pedestrians to navigate the intersection, project manager Kelvin Saldanha said.

"One of the safety improvements we'd like to make is push pedestrian push buttons at the intersections to make it safer to cross," he said.

SHA is working with Harford County to create a better concept for the Edgewood gateway sign, he said.

The final review for the project is set for March 2013 and design completion is set for July 2013, followed by a two-year construction period.

Saldanha said roads are not expected to be closed, but lanes will be partly closed, with flaggers to guide drivers.

Improving livability

County Councilman Dion Guthrie, who represents Edgewood, told the council he plans to re-introduce livability code legislation sometime in the spring. The legislation, if passed, would seek to hold landlords responsible for ailing properties.

Two members of the Route 40 Republican Club, meanwhile, told Edgewood residents the club wants to help improve their community.

"We have been, over the last year, looking at how do we help Edgewood. What can we do as a group of people - not Republicans, not Democrats, but a group of people that are community-oriented and live in the community, and most of us do," President Fred Mullis said.

"We can find out what your projects are and we can work with the county and work with the delegation," he said.

Edgewood Community Council Chairman Jansen Robinson wondered about their motives.

"There are people that would be skeptical of a political club affiliated with a political party on the heels of this election coming into Edgewood and saying, 'Hey, I'm going to do some things that we probably should have been doing but we haven't done this before,'" Robinson said.

Mullis disagreed, saying his children and grandchildren are in the area and he has a stake in the community. His wife, Paula, is head of the Joppatowne Community Council, as well.

Robinson said getting the livability code in the past has been a real challenge, and Guthrie said real estate companies and agents "came out of the woodwork" during the hearing on the bill to oppose it.

"We've run into barrier after barrier after barrier, and a lot of it is political," Robinson said.

Guthrie said he wants more of a bipartisan effort to push the bill through and hold property owners responsible.

"We certainly would like to see - we have the Democratic Committee here, the Republican Committee - we would like to see them join forces," Guthrie said. "Our problems in this county right now, with the economy when it went into the toilet like it has, [is] we've had homes all over the place that people walk away from."

Natasha Jackson, resident services manager for Windsor Valley community, talked about improvements to amenities and buildings that the community plans to make.

She said five homes will be torn down for a new community center, the community center will be improved in general and Section 8 vouchers will be given out to protect residents because rents will go up after the renovation.

"We're going to partner with whoever is going to improve our lot," she said.