Community gets $9,901 grant for playground


Two summers ago, Baltimore County workers unexpectedly removed the sliding board from a 3-acre playground in the Hamiltowne section of Rosedale. Residents have been trying to get the sliding board back ever since.

They formed a playground committee, raised $575 and kept after county officials to do something about the park. Their persistence has paid off.

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden announced Wednesday night the award of $9,901 to the Hamiltowne Improvement Association to pay for tot lot equipment, park benches and the planting of trees.

The award was part of $329,045 in grants to 49 organizations under the county's new Community Conservation Program.

The program, revealed by Mr. Hayden during a community conservation conference last March, is intended to help community, civic and recreation organizations carry out projects enhance and revitalize older residential communities.

The awards ranged from the maximum of $10,000 for a graffiti eradication program requested by the District 1 Community Council in the southwest county to $400 for the Northbrook Community Improvement Association in the Hillendale area to rent two trucks for a community clean-up day.

Carol Louden, president of Hamiltowne Improvement Association, said she was happy the work of the residents finally was rewarded.

"Every time we went to the county to ask what they were going to do about the park, the reply was the same -- no money," Mrs. Louden said. "That didn't leave us much option; we either could try to do something about it on our own or forget it."

Mrs. Louden said county workers dismantled the sliding board because a piece of metal was sticking up that could have been dangerous. That left two swing sets, a dilapidated seesaw and a small monkey bar set on the playground.

"This really is a beautiful piece of park with a stream running through it, and there have been so many new families move in with young kids that a tot lot was badly needed," she said.

"We were amazed not only by the creativity of some of the projects but also with the enthusiasm the organizations showed toward the program," said Brent Flickinger, project director for the grant program.

Sixty-eight organizations applied for grants, he said.

Mr. Hayden called the grants "a great way for the county to help its citizens help themselves," and said the program illustrated the county's "commitment to older neighborhoods."

Each organization receiving a grant must match 25 percent of the award through labor, materials or both.

In Mr. Hayden's fiscal 1995 budget address last April, he said he was putting $100,000 in the Office of Planning and Zoning for the program. That amount was matched by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation through the nonprofit Baltimore County Citizens Foundation. The county Department of Recreation and Parks allotted an additional $114,000 to the program.

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