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Water tanks sought for firefighting


Anne Arundel County fire officials are requesting money to install 10,000-gallon water storage tanks over the next three in 12 communities years on the Annapolis Neck Peninsula.

The water tanks would be an interim measure to aid in fire protection until the peninsula can be connected to the county's water system, Acting Fire Administrator Stephen D. Halford told the county's Planning Advisory Board yesterday.

The Fire Department was one of several county agencies whose capital budget requests were presented to the planning board. The board will review the requests and vote on whether to approve them before the county's capital budget is sent to the County Council for final approval in May.

"We do not feel there is a sufficient number of water tanks in the Annapolis Neck area," Mr. Halford said. "Those residents are not going to feel safe down there unless we have access to more water."

Utility officials have estimated it would cost $25 million to connect the communities that currently have wells -- mostly on the east end of the peninsula -- to county water. And a fire station planned for Forest Drive is not scheduled for construction until the 1998-'99 budget year.

"So this is the biggest bang for the buck that we can do at this point," said Deputy Chief Charles G. Rogers.

The issue of fire protection in the Annapolis Neck Peninsula came to a head after a Dec. 6 fire destroyed a house in the community of Keyes Farm. The crew from the first fire truck on the scene was unable to get any suction when they hooked up to a nearby drafting tank. A tanker had to be dispatched from a station on Riva Road, and the fire burned out of control during the delay.

A. Scott Mobley, president of the Annapolis Neck Federation, lauded the Fire Department for making the tanks its top priority.

Mr. Halford is requesting $80,000 for fiscal 1995 -- which begins July 1 -- for water tanks in the communities of Rundelac Farm, Bittersweet, Harness Creek Park and Walnut Lake.

In fiscal 1996, the Fire Department will need $100,000 to install tanks in the communities of Eatons Landing, Keyes Farm and Arundel on the Bay.

The next year, $100,000 will be needed for tanks in Oyster Harbor, Anchorage, Hillsmere, Bay Highlands and Annapolis Roads.

Fire officials are also asking for $50,000 to begin designing a burn building for use in training firefighters. Money for the burn building was approved by the Planning Advisory Board last year, but was eliminated by the County Council.

The current building, built almost a quarter-century ago, is falling apart from wear and tear. Only one of the original eight rooms can still be used, Mr. Halford said.

Public works officials presented $450,000 worth of budget requests for traffic signals and $5.9 million in road and bridge improvements.

The major roads projects include:

* $3.25 million for road resurfacing, a figure that could increase to deal with damage from the recent harsh winter weather.

* $642,000 for improvements to Bradley Road in Pasadena.

* $600,000 for improvements to WB&A; Road in Severn.

* $330,000 for construction of a new access ramp from northbound Riva Road to eastbound Aris T. Allen Boulevard in Parole to relieve rush-hour congestion.

* $250,000 for an extension of Spruill Road in Parole that would provide access to Patuxent Boulevard from Admiral Cochrane Road.

* $225,000 for construction of a ramp from Jennifer Road to southbound Route 2 in Parole, to allow for access to Route 2 from Jennifer Road and the Annapolis Mall without having to use West Street, Riva Road or Forest Drive.

* $253,100 for replacing a bridge on Franklin Gibson Road in Tracys Landing. Public works officials listed this project as their No. 1 priority.

* $110,500 to replace a bridge on Gambrills Road in Gambrills. This is the second priority for public works.

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