Contracts for improvements at two downtown parks, as well as new police cars and public works vehicles, were approved by the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners during Monday's town meeting,
The commissioners approved improvements for the band shell at the William A. Humbert Amphitheater in Shamrock Park that include new permanent speakers and a roll-down movie screen. The amphitheater is used for the town's popular outdoor movie series in the summertime.
Planning Director Kevin Small said the band shell work will cost about $31,000. Maryland Sound International is the contractor. The town has a grant from the Dresher Foundation for improvements at Shamrock, he said.
Also coming will be a paved walkway from Lee Street through the park to the Bel Air library, Small said.
At Plumtree Park, a path rain can soak through will be constructed along Plumtree Run from Thomas to George streets, Small explained. The $55,000 contract with Ivy Hill for that work was also approved Monday
Commissioner Susan Burdette said both those projects will be great additions.
"The sound system and wires and that type of thing is a wonderful improvement," she said.
Parking changes approved
The commissioners also approved a resolution removing preferential residential parking from along some streets in the Homestead Village neighborhood near Bel Air High School.
Residential permit parking will also be removed during the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days from:
• East and west sides of Hunter Drive from Linwood Avenue to South Shamrock Road;
• North and south sides of the 300 block of Linwood Avenue from Giles Street to South Shamrock;
• East and west sides of the 400 block of Linwood Avenue from South Shamrock Road to Linwood Garth;
• East and west sides of Linwood Court; and
• North and south sides of South Shamrock Road for 620 feet south of the intersection with Linwood Avenue.
Several other streets nearer to the high school will continue to have permit parking only during school days and hours, including Homestead Street, Idlewild Road, Idlewild Street, Kenmore Avenue and Maitland Street.
Town officials said the preferential parking isn't needed in Homestead Village because there is no longer a problem with students from the high school parking there since the new high school opened in 2009 with a larger parking lot.
Speaking at a public hearing prior to Monday's vote on the resolution, Toby Musser, a resident on South Shamrock Road, said he represented residents who support the resolution.
"We love the idea; we hate the signs," he said.
The purchase of three additional police cruisers was also approved by the town commissioners, as were the purchases of a new pickup truck, a new van and a new skid-steer loader for the department public works.
The police vehicles are being purchased under a statewide contract for a total cost of $68,483, town officials said last week. The bid was placed by Apple Ford.
The town is also purchasing a new Ford F250 pickup truck and a new Chevrolet van for the public works department to replace aging vehicles. Those two purchases, at $22,290 and $21,835, respectively, are coming under a state General Services Administration contract.
The town is also purchasing a new skid-steer loader from Walter G. Coale of Churchville for $42,378 after a $9,000 trade-in allowance for its existing Bobcat, Public Works Director Randy Robertson said last week.
Trash near trail head
Two residents, Barry and Eva Andrews, complained about piles of trash left near the entrance to the Ma & Pa Trail.
Eva Andrews said they just tore down a house in that area and put up three new homes but "this trash situation, somebody has to put an end to it."
"These folks that don't live in the town take advantage of us by dumping," she added.
Several commissioners, meanwhile, talked about the success and professionalism of the BBQ Bash, held over the weekend.
The 33rd annual Town Run in June was also a success, an organizer told the commissioners; more than 1,400 people participated.