Bel Air businesses complain about trash from July 4th parade [25 years ago]

From The Aegis dated July 7, 1988:

It wasn't the smoothest of July 4th celebrations in Harford County 25 years ago this week, when the crowd in Bel Air left Baltimore Pike so full of debris merchants were calling for the parade to return to its old route.

Hit particularly hard "by the sea of trash and spectator abuse left in the wake of the record-breaking parade" were Bel Air Honda and Scott Pontiac across the street from each other in the 400 block of Baltimore Pike.

"You just couldn't believe the mess that was here when we tried to open for business," Bill Waters, one of Scott Pontiac's owners, said. "Trash was all over the place."

The general manager of Bel Air Honda, where the cars for sale on the lot were moved back so people wouldn't be walking on the hoods to get good views of the parade, said the same thing, that it was a "horrendous problem" cleaning up the mess.

Much of the mess was blamed on the fast food restaurants that stayed open for the parade and sold food and drinks in disposable containers that were disposed of on the streets.

Waters said he was planning to push for the parade to be moved back to Bond Street.

In Havre de Grace, a crowd got unruly while members of the Harford County Joint Narcotics Task Force made a drug arrest.

Drug task force members made the arrest at the intersection of Revolution and Stokes streets, where the "hostile, jeering crowd" attacked an officer.

Three people, including the target of the drug investigation, were arrested. One of the arrested was yelling at police: "Go ahead and lock me up."

The town of Bel Air and county government reached an agreement on the new parking garage in town and were expected to award a contract for its construction 25 years ago this week.

The 1,000-car garage was to be built on a surface parking lot, land owned by the town and the county. The town was to contribute its portion of the land and 30 percent of the cost, while the county would pay the rest for the $5 million facility.

After four weeks without rain and no relief in sight, Harford's corn and soybean crops were close to being destroyed. The corn crop wasn't faring so well, either, though Harford appeared to be in better shape than other counties in the state.

Farmers could be looking at a minimum of 40 to 50 percent loss of the corn plantings, possibly more, and potentially worse than the drought two years earlier.

The "demolition derby," as it was called, at the intersection of Boulton Street and the new Route 24 could be a thing of the past with the creation of left-turn lanes off Boulton and 24.

In the 26 weeks since the new highway opened just before Thanksgiving, 35 accidents had been reported there.

The state initially had no plans to make the left-turn lanes, but after the number of accidents, officials chose to add them to alleviate some of the issues.

A ban on smoking in county buildings went into effect 25 years ago this week with little fanfare.

"We didn't see anyone throwing themselves out of the county office building windows," the director of administration said.

The ban may have even prompted some county employees to give up the habit after the county council passed the ban earlier in the year.

Significant changes were well under way at Harford Mall 25 years ago this week.

The Courtyard, a 10,000-square-foot area food court, was nearing completion to seat 300 customers.

And a "dramatic" floor-to-ceiling glass front facing Baltimore Pike and skylights and two entrances were just about finished.

The newly remodeled wing was expected to open in October. New shops in the wing included Merry-Go-Round, the Baltimore based company that planned to move its corporate headquarters to Harford County, K&K Toys, Foot Locker, General Nutrition Center, Country Cupboard, Kinney Shoe, Deb Shop, Remembering You and Claire's Boutique.

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