Pat Troy says she wants to control the future.
"We want this to be a good place to live 30 years from now," Ms. Troy said about ASPIRE, the group she helped found last year. "No one has been able to integrate the residents and the business community into any long-term planning effort. We're trying to build a better future for Severna Park."
ASPIRE, the Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal and Enhancement, is holding its first town meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday at Severna Park Elementary School in and effort to get ideas from business owners and residents about the future of the community.
The group has invited Alexander Spear, the county demographer, to provide population and income information, and Ellie Vernon, a member of a similar group in Queen Anne's County, to talk about the importance of planning groups.
Planning the future of a community helps its residents gain a sense of self-determination, Ms. Vernon said.
At the end of the meeting, audience members will be invited to form small groups to discuss plans for Severna Park. ASPIRE members already have decided they want develop a master plan for Severna Park that would be incorporated into the county's master plan.
"We just want to make sure that Severna Park is a place for attractive growth," said Linda Zahn, also a founder of the group. "We want to make sure somebody is working to make sure what happens in Severna Park is not haphazard, that it is planned."
Ms. Troy began organizing ASPIRE last year. The group was incorporated in May 1994.
According to Ms. Troy, this is not the first time Severna Park residents have tried to make long-range plans. In the late 1970s, the Greater Severna Park Council formed a committee similar to ASPIRE that met with community groups, asking them what they felt the town should look like in the future.
But some residents were concerned only with having pot holes fixed, said Ms. Troy, a former committee member. The effort eventually dissolved.
"I watched the years roll by, and I saw changes," Ms. Troy said. "I said to myself, 'If we had taken charge of this back in '78, things would be different.' "
She said that if the group had worked, there probably would be more parks and more facilities for seniors, but that "it's never too late."