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Bel Air

Bel Air set to approve band shell work, storm pond repairs

Contracts for more improvements to Bel Air's two midtown parks and repairs to a neighborhood storm pond are expected to be approved during the next town meeting this Monday evening.

The Board of Town Commissioners is also expected to approve a resolution to remove preferential parking from along some streets in the Homestead Village neighborhood near Bel Air High School.

Park improvements

As discussed during a lengthy commissioners work session Tuesday afternoon, the William Humbert Amphitheater band shell at Shamrock Park will be getting permanent speakers and a roll down movie screen.

Planning Director Kevin Small explained the speaker placement has been tested so the new fixtures won't blast the neighboring residences and the screen will be rear projection, which will make it easier to show outdoor movies during the annual summer series.

He also said work will be done to improve handicapped access around the band shell and that rods will be installed inside the band shell for future lighting upgrades.

Small said a plan has been developed to upgrade the flag court just west of the band shell with new plantings and installation of a fountain cast by the J.W. Fiske Ironworks, the 19th Century firm that cast the fountains in New York's Central Park. He said the fountain is being donated by two county residents who no longer have use for it at their home. It is expected to be installed in the spring.

Small said the band shell work will cost about $30,000. 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.

At Plumtree Park, a path rain can soak through will be constructed along Plumtree Run from Thomas to George streets, Small explained. The contract for that work is up for the commissioners approval Monday night.

In addition, Small said, the Bel Air Master Gardeners will make bio retention plantings of native grasses and perennials along the stream and a local Boy Scout will be doing plantings as part of an Eagle project, which Small said will benefit the park's wildlife.

Small said the town has a state grant and a $20,000 grant from the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation for Plumtree.

Future planned improvements include new lighting and the installation of a gazebo between the parks two playgrounds.

Parking changes

Resolution 1013-13 was introduced last month and will have a public hearing at the start of the town meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in town hall.

The resolution will remove residential permit parking 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 say the preferential parking isn't needed in Homestead Village because there is no longer a problem with students from the high school parking there. The problem abated, they said, when the new high school opened in 2009 with a larger parking lot.

The resolution was discussed briefly during Tuesday's work session, where town commissioners said they have heard no public concerns expressed about the parking changes.

Roland Park Place

The commissioners had previously discussed making repairs to the Roland Park Place storm pond and billing residents of the community, located off Rock Spring Road, for the work.

In the contract expected to be approved Monday, the work will be done for approximately $60,000, DPW Director Randy Robertson said.

Because there is no active homeowners association, Robertson explained, the 31 property owners will be billed equally in two installments of $957.02.

Robertson said took a similar approach when it did some mowing of common areas in the same community.

Ellendale Street repaving

Robertson also said the planned repaving of Ellendale Street between North Main and Williams streets should be getting under way within 10 days.

The plan is to straighten the block, install cubs, gutters and a sidewalk and to install eight parking spaces at the Williams Street end of the block. The spaces will augment parking at the Ma & Pa Trail lot.

Robertson said repaving is planned for September on a handful of other streets including Mapleview Drive, Ash Alley and Wilson Street in West Bel Air.

Frank J. Geottner Construction of Kingsville is the contractor on all of the jobs.

Vehicle purchases

The commissioners are also expected to approve the purchase of three additional police cruisers, as the police department's fleet continues to be upgraded.

The vehicles are being purchased under a statewide contract. Last fall, the town purchased four 2013 Ford Taurus police packages with the intention of retiring some of the older vehicles in the fleet. All the new vehicles are being painted black.

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 and are on Monday night's town meeting agenda for approval.

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, Robertson said.

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