Cathy Hudson, president of the Howard County Citizens Association, who has lived in Elkridge all her life, remembers the Elkridge of her youth as "a small town right outside of a big city where people knew each other. You had your IGA [grocery store], and other local business."
But in the 1970s, when a sewer moratorium in the area ended, "it was like the floodgates had lifted," she said. It began with a few townhouse communities and took off from there.
"We can take the growth, but give us the amenities too," she said.
With all the growth in the area, schools have long been a source of contention for residents.
Watson said she first got her start in community issues as a parent, working to get additional schools built along the Montgomery Road corridor to ease overcrowding.
"We've asked for a high school for over a decade — to just have them purchase the land now," McGuire said. "Even if you don't build right now, at least you have the land."
But the county has planned construction only for an elementary and middle school.
McGuire said the county needs to start planning for a new high school now.
Speaking to fellow community association members inside the hall at the volunteer fire station, Howard Johnson, president of the Greater Elkridge Community Association, recalled some of the year's struggles, including the new schools and campaign against the rail transfer site
"This has been a tough year. We've seen a lot of things happen we didn't expect," he said. But now, with newly funded projects on the horizon, he said, "there are some good things happening in Elkridge."