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President of Elkridge community group leaves post with a sense of victory Hudson says she created dialogue


Community is important to Cathy Hudson.

For the last several years, the Elkridge Community Association member has pored over comprehensive rezoning documents, testified at public hearings, presided over neighborhood meetings and met with officials in business and county government.

Ms. Hudson left her post as association president yesterday to join her husband, who was transferred overseas. Ray Miller, former vice president of the association, will complete Ms. Hudson's two-year term. Leslie Stickles, second vice president, will become vice president.

Although she served only five months of her term, Ms. Hudson, 40, is proud of what she accomplished.

"I've tried to take what other people have done before and build on it," she said.

She said her accomplishments include persuading county officials to eliminate plans to widen Montgomery Road from the county's 1994 capital budget and establishing a rapport with land developers and government officials through negotiation and cooperation.

In March, about 250 people attended a community association meeting to hear about plans for Montgomery Road and the continuing construction of the Route 100 extension in Howard County.

Ms. Hudson and other residents say the meeting helped persuade county officials not to widen Montgomery Road from two to four lanes, which would have accommodated traffic from a planned housing and golf course development.

"I felt there was real good dialogue," Ms. Hudson said of the meeting, which included County Executive Charles I. Ecker and Public Works Director James Irvin.

"I feel good when I can bring two groups together," Ms. Hudson said. "That's what dialogue is about -- letting officials speak to the community and vice versa."

As association president, Ms. Hudson told elected officials and developers how residents felt about comprehensive rezoning and projects such as Centre 9500, a 352-acre residential, commercial and golfing community to be built northwest of the Interstate 95 and Route 100 interchange.

"I think she's a very good voice for her community," Mr. Ecker said. "She's very polite, but she stands up for her community."

Barbara Wachs, an association executive board member, praised Ms. Hudson's organization skills and levelheadedness.

"She's very reasonable; she's not reactionary," Ms. Wachs said. "Cathy has shown that Elkridge is not a second-class neighborhood. It's going to be difficult to put one over on us."

Mr. Miller said he's determined to continue Ms. Hudson's efforts.

"I would just like to keep the ECA right under the nose of Howard County government," he said.

Mr. Miller, 37, builds and sells playground equipment. He has been involved in the community association for three years.

"I've lived in this area all my life, and I know virtually all the old Elkridge people," he said. "Because I have so many opinions about this area, I got involved," Mr. Miller said.

He has served on the executive board of directors, been program manager and vice president since January.

Mr. Miller is working on a community image committee that will establish design guidelines for street lamps, utility wires and signs in Elkridge. The guidelines will be summarized in a brochure and given to potential developers interested in the area, he said.

As more people move into Elkridge, Mr. Miller said, it is important that the association work with officials to manage growth.

"I would like to see us remain a pro-active group," Mr. Miller said.

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