For the final time, the Roland Park Civic League met at the Roland Park Presbyterian Church on the first Thursday in February. Staring March 5, the league's monthly meetings switch permanently to Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
I like attending these meetings. The Civic League e-communications are good, as is the listserv, but being at the meeting provides more opportunity for input and to hear more discussion.
In February, firefighters from the Roland Park fire station answered questions and concerns about a horrific fire on St. George's Road. They were not allowed to discuss how the fire might have started, but said they had fought it for about 10 hours. They asked residents to call 311 if they see puddles around hydrants, as puddles are signs of leaks. Leaks cause hydrants to freeze.
They also urged residents not to park in "no parking" areas, particularly at corners. Large fire trucks cannot navigate corners if cars block the way.
Fire officials also urged residents of narrow streets to close car mirrors to facilitate fast engine passage. They invited adults to bring children to the firehouse to see fire equipment and clothing. In the event of a fire, children then would not be afraid of masked firefighters.
Also addressing the league was a police officer from the Northern District, who said that if area residents see a pattern of suspicious activity, they should call the station directly at 410-396-2455 and ask for their concern to be posted on the "Special Attention" list in the roll call book that is read out at each shift. The item will be announced for 10 days.
That phone number is in addition to the 911 number that should be called when seeing something suspicious. This additional number is a great way for officers patrolling the area to know of problems and for residents to have a direct connection to the Northern District.
After a report of recent power outages in Roland Park, city councilwoman Sharon Middleton said she would follow up with BGE officials to find out about the improvements that had been scheduled after the derecho.
We also heard at the league meeting that following a spring 2013 challenge by Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts for Roland Parkers to help other neighborhoods, several community initiatives are under way with the organization Park Heights Renaissance. To promote student attendance at three Park Heights area schools, a uniform drive is being coordinated by Roland Park Middle School Girl Scout troop 1880. Needed are khaki and navy pants in good condition, as well as yellow, Hunter green, white, black and navy shirts without logos. Long khakis are needed most.
Items can be brought to the March 5 Civic League meeting and to the Roland Park Chili cook-off Feb. 22 at the Radisson Hotel in Cross Keys.
A mentorship program at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School is also under way, in which Roland Park residents pair up with students from other areas and meet regularly at the school. An additional effort is a community bike drive this coming spring to benefit Park Heights youth. More details will be announced at the March Civic League meeting.
Based on residents of my street, I venture a guess that most Roland Parkers are personally and financially committed to at least one nonprofit that focuses effort on other city neighborhoods. Our street alone is deeply involved in local nonprofits, including Christo Rey Jesuit High School, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore Choral Arts, the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art, the Cylburn Arboretum Association, the Middle Grades Partnership, Helping Up Mission, My Sister's Place, the Parks & People Foundation and Paul's Place.
While the level of household commitment to other areas of the city is high, coordinated efforts by the Civic League offer opportunities to work with neighbors. Working together fosters the sense of community that Roland Park has enjoyed for decades — and makes for a better Baltimore.