New equipment should be installed next week at Bel Air's Plumtree Park, a town official said Monday.

A $29,700 contract with Akehurst Landscape Service of Joppa was unanimously approved by the Bel Air town commissioners at their meeting Monday night for a variety of improvements to the park on Thomas Street.

Workers recently removed aging playground equipment from the park, between Thomas Street and George Street on the west side of town, and Planning Director Kevin Small said the new equipment is expected to be installed next week.

Akehurst's workers will be responsible for constructing a paved path along the park's stream, a shelter, installing new benches and updated lighting and more amenities.


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They will also replace the timber edging around the playground with molded concrete edges and seating. Delivery of some of the molded concrete structures was already taking place Tuesday morning.

Small said Akehurst is "one of the few contractors in Maryland" qualified to use the proprietary StoneMakers process to mold concrete into the form of various landscapes.

The grant funding for the Plumtree Park improvements comes from the state's Community Parks & Playgrounds Program, Small explained.

Armory marketplace, Phase 2

The commissioners also approved spending $18,800 in state grant funds for the second phase of the architecture and engineering design for the town's "Armory Marketplace" project.

The work would be carried out by Frederick Ward Associates of Bel Air, which performed initial planning and cost estimates for the project beginning in 2010.

Town officials plan to turn unused garages at the Bel Air Reckord Armory into small business incubator spaces.

"Ultimately, the goal is to create this whole pedestrian area back there and have spaces that can be incubators for emerging businesses," Economic Development Director Trish Heidenreich said after the meeting.

The funding comes from the state's Community Legacy grant program.

Thanks for traffic signal

John Meeks, who had previously served on the English Country Manor community's board of directors, thanked the commissioners and town officials for their successful efforts to install a traffic signal at Boulton Street and Gateway Drive.

The signal went live late last month.

Meeks said he found all town leaders he worked with to be "very professional and concerned for the well being of the residents of Bel Air. Bel Air is fortunate to have such a talent in place overseeing the needs of our community."

Mayor Edward Hopkins told Meeks he had been "a pleasure" to work with during the three-and-a-half-year process of putting in the signal.

"I really admired your passion," Hopkins said. "I admire how you persevered with this."

Moores Mill Road improvements

Commissioner Susan Burdette reminded the public that the county's 10-month project to resurface and widen Moores Mill Road between Hickory Avenue and Southampton Road will begin this month.

She noted there will be no access to Moores Mill from Major's Choice Drive beginning around June 10.

"I just want to assure (Major's Choice residents) that they will be notified about school bus traffic and they will be kept abreast of developments," she said.

Once finished, the section of road will have sidewalks and other improvements.

"I think the end of the project is going to be worth all the short-term hassles for this necessary improvement," Burdette said.