Letter: County must listen to concerns about Blandair Park

We want to thank the Columbia Flier and Howard County Times for its excellent coverage of last Tuesday's Oakland Mills Board of Directors meeting with the community and Parks and Recreation officials. The designation of Blandair Park as Columbia's central park is a source of pride for Oakland Mills, and its continuing development is of great interest to the whole community.

However, unlike a lot of other park development in the county, the south portion of Blandair is located in an established area of dense housing. Prior to the development of the park, young families chose to move to these neighborhoods, which surround Blandair, to raise their families.

At our village board meeting last Tuesday night, many of these families spoke to the Director of Parks and Recreation, John Byrd, and his team about the concerns they are having about the crowds, noise, lights and traffic resulting from recent park activities. Their legitimate concerns were also voiced in a cover article of this week's Columbia Flier, in which these same families speak of having moved to Oakland Mills for the quality of life.

Oakland Mills has worked hard to attract families like these to our community as part of the revitalization of one of Columbia's oldest villages. They should not now have to move because of the negative impact of having the park located adjacent to their backyards.

In order to be better neighbors to our local community, we are requesting that the Department of Parks and Recreation consider resident concerns and suggestions and make necessary changes to the park facilities and programming guidelines before proceeding to Phase 2 of its development.

We are looking forward to John Byrd and his team coming back for a meeting with the village board and the community on Jan. 22, 2013 at The Other Barn in Oakland Mills. We all want the park to be a successful addition to both Howard County and to Oakland Mills and we know that good community relations are an important part of that success.

Margaret Mauro

Phillips Engelke


Oakland Mills Village Board of Directors

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