Bacontown residents happy to see water, sewer services on the way


An article in Tuesday's edition of The Sun for Anne Arundel County reported incorrectly the status of bids for a project to extend water and sewer lines to Bacontown, a community near Laurel Park Race Course.

The bids are to be opened May 9.

The Sun regrets the error.

Bacontown residents say they would rather get their public water and sewer services late than never.

The project to extend water and sewer lines to the tiny community near the Laurel race course is a year behind schedule. That delay won't be a hardship for 69-year-old Louis Brooks. He has spent his entire life in Bacontown and has never had running water.

He says he can handle another year of his weekly walks down the block to Mount Zion United Methodist Church, where he fills 20 milk jugs with water from an outside spigot.

For at least a decade, Bacontown has tried to get the county to put in public water and sewer lines to replace the decrepit wells and septic systems that residents say are in constant need of repair. In 1993, the community of 16 homes and 14 trailers successfully petitioned the county to lay utility lines.

The project was scheduled to be finished by December 1994.

Getting right-of-way clearances in a century-old community where finding deeds is difficult has caused the delay, said Baron Bell, project planner for Arundel Community Development Services Inc., which is working with the county to put in the lines.

With the right-of-way issue resolved, the county opened bids last week to put in 3,600 feet of sewer lines and 1,430 feet of water lines. A contractor will be picked by July. Construction should start by September and be completed by January, said Lisa Ritter, spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works.

"It's going very well. We're very happy to get public water," said Audrey Garnett, president of the Bacontown Civic Association.

Since November, Arundel Community Development Services, which secured $1 million in grant money to build the water and sewer lines, has held monthly meetings with residents to discuss utility hook-ups and how to finance them.

Homeowners may need to pay $2,000 to $25,000 each to make their homes adaptable to the new lines, said Sherry Williams, program director for the nonprofit group, which has a contract with the county to administer state and federal development grants.

For residents with wells, life won't be that much different. But it means a new way of life for Mr. Brooks and others. Mr. Brooks, who lives in the house he was born in in the 3500 block of Whiskey Bottom Road, said he has never been able to afford a well and has no indoor plumbing.

In Bacontown, even the residents with wells will be glad when the upgraded services arrive. "It may be too late, but better than never," said Mildred Carter, 74.

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