Sports facility vs. old warehouses


State legislators representing Pasadena denounced a County Council bill yesterday that would use money once earmarked for the Lake Shore Athletic Complex to pay for asbestos removal and demolition of abandoned warehouses on county-owned property on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.

The District 31 delegation -- Sen. Philip C. Jimeno and Dels. Joan Cadden, W. Ray Huff and Charles W. Kolodziejski -- wrote to County Council Chairman Edward Middlebrooks opposing the transfer of $330,000 left over from the project. The four legislators oppose a county proposal to use the site for a jail.

A bill approving the transfer will be considered by the council at a public hearing set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

Nine dilapidated warehouses must be taken off the property so that federal officials can remove soil contaminated with radioactive thorium nitrate.

But delegation members urged that the leftover money be used instead to improve the county's recreational facilities.

We "request that you not shortchange the youth of the Pasadena community," the letter said. "Using Parks & Recreation funding for the cleanup of the Ordnance Depot in our opinion is totally unacceptable."

Carl G. Holland, a Pasadena Republican, also opposes the transfer. "We have use for that money at the Lake Shore Athletic Complex," Mr. Holland said. Specifically, he said, it could be used to light two additional fields and construct one more baseball field.

Joan Harris, president of Lake Shore Youth Baseball, said community growth will strain the complex when it opens.

"When they did those plans four years ago, the numbers were not what they are today," she said, estimating that sports programs have grown by more than 20 percent. "The way it stands now, we'll have to turn kids away because we don't have enough fields."

But Gregory V. Nourse, a county budget analyst, said everything that was planned for the athletic complex, scheduled for completion in May, will be built.

"Nothing is being taken from anyone," Mr. Nourse said. "All the work that was negotiated with the community and was in the master plan is being done."

The 85-acre tract was once the site favored by County Executive Robert R. Neall for a new detention center, but that plan was dropped after the radiation was discovered. Council members Maureen Lamb, David G. Boschert and Virginia P. Clagett have sponsored a bill -- also up for debate Tuesday -- to put a detention center facility on the property after the cleanup is completed.

The Defense Logistics Agency has told county officials it will pay for removal of the soil, which was contaminated by radioactive thorium nitrate stored there when it was an arms depot. But the exterior building walls are covered with asbestos panels, which must be removed for safety reasons before the DLA removes the soil.

In its letter to the council, the District 31 delegation said the federal government should pay for the entire cost of cleaning up the Ordnance Road property. Mr. Holland agrees.

The federal government "left the buildings there, we didn't," he said.

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