Too many observers have an unflattering view of Elkridge. They regard it not so much as a community of people than as a place with a string of cheesy motels, eateries and other rundown-looking businesses stretched along U.S. 1.
Community activists and officials of Howard County government have been busily searching for ways to turn that around. While their plans are still in the talking stage, the image of this 260-year-old community at the eastern tip of the county appears on its way to receiving an overdue make-over.
An eight-member offshoot of the Elkridge Community Association, the Community Image Committee, has been working for months on proposals that include creating hiking and biking trails to link east and west Elkridge, constructing berms with trees to spruce up the looks of parking lots along U.S. 1, and removing trash from around area buildings.
Association members already have been photographing local scenes of litter in a campaign to pressure (or embarrass) negligent property owners into tidying up after themselves.
As might be expected, the usual question about these types of initiatives has emerged: Who's going to foot the bill?
The association is banking on a combination of government money and contributions by the owners of area businesses and properties. County officials say state grants and county capital funds are possible sources of support.
However, the concerns about money will have to be shoved to the background while the local government ponders improvements to the Route 1 corridor and the development of a greenway to run along the Patapsco River. The studies of those two matters should begin in earnest within the next six months.
Another local improvement effort of note is the attempt by the sponsors of the annual Elkridge Days Festival to lease a small parcel of land near Rockburn Branch Park for an Elkridge children's park, complete with baseball diamond, soccer field and playground equipment.
These various plans to polish the image of Elkridge are far from fruition. Still, it speaks well of local residents that they care enough to try. Here's hoping their hard work pays off as soon as possible.