Odenton searches for new identity


For years, Odenton has been part of something else -- Fort Meade, the railroad, the intersection of Routes 170 and 175.

Now, county officials are putting the final touches on a plan to help Odenton become a place of its own. The plan, drafted by a 20-member citizens committee, is to go before the County Council in September. If approved, it would become part of the county's General Development Plan and act as the blueprint for the town's growth.

Yesterday, Jay Winer, an Odenton developer and member of the committee that drafted the plan, led four County Council members and staff on a four-hour driving tour of Odenton to help them visualize the plan.

In an air-conditioned police van, they drove on Route 170 and Route 175 to see businesses and Fort Meade. They visited two burgeoning residential communities, Seven Oaks and Piney Orchard.

Mr. Winer told the council members that the different sections of Odenton needed to be pulled together to make it a community. The plan, designed to create centers of development and stimulate investment, would provide that cohesion, he said.

"Now, it's a matter of how to make it happen. It's going to take money," Mr. Winer said.

Councilman Bert L. Rice, a former member of the town center committee who set up the tour, agreed, adding, "It's going to be a big task . . . almost like trying to form a city or a town."

In 1990, the County Council designated 360 acres bounded by Route 175, Route 32 and the Amtrak railroad tracks as the Odenton town center, one of three in the county.

The citizens committee formed by the council spent the next four years creating the plan. It was endorsed last summer by the Planning Advisory Board.

But former County Executive Robert R. Neall held off delivering

the plan to the council, leaving it for the next administration, said Yolanda Takesian, Odenton Town Center project planner.

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