Many of the trees and bushes planted in the Route 3 median in Crofton in the early 1970s by the Crofton Village Garden Club are about to be cut down to make way for another lane in each direction on the congested road.
It is a prospect that saddens those involved in raising money for the original landscaping project.
"We did all of this just so we could fulfill this dream we had of beautifying Route 3," said Kathryn Callahan, project chairwoman and former president of the garden club. "I know we worked on it for quite a long time. We were interested, and still are, in the quality of life in our community. We were very alarmed by the noise and air pollution."
The club raised $3,000 from individuals and businesses, an amount that the state Department of Transportation matched and used to plant trees and bushes, including black pines and flowering quince.
But the state will tear out many of those plants in the coming weeks to make way for additional northbound and southbound lanes on Route 3 between Route 450 and Crawford Boulevard. The $1.4 million project, awarded to Reliable Contracting Co. of Millersville, should be completed by next summer, says Paul Armstrong, a district engineer for the State Highway Administration.
The destruction of dozens of trees is inevitable, Armstrong said, as the lanes are added, narrowing the median, and as a drainage ditch is constructed. But he will meet with Crofton residents tomorrow night to discuss the possibility of saving a few trees at the southern end of the project.
Armstrong says residents will be able to help plan landscaping after the project is finished next summer. "What we would like to do is involve the residents in the area to get their input," he said.
Crofton Civic Association Board President Edwin F. Dosek has been lobbying state highway officials for months to pay attention to community concerns.
"I had to go to them. It would have been a fait accompli if I hadn't," Dosek said of the destruction of the trees.
Dosek said he supports a proposal by Bowie officials that the state plant two trees for every one it destroys. He said his concerns involve more than aesthetics.
"Trees do a lot of things," Dosek said. "They serve as sight barriers. They serve as sound barriers and as pollutant consumers."
But any plan to save or plant trees will be constrained by tight state budgets, Armstrong said.
Callahan, who has lived in Crofton for about 30 years, said she wants to participate in plans for the new landscaping. She
remembered the club's effort in the 1970s as the group's largest beautification project.
For a fund-raiser, the 32 members spent months making wreaths, pressed-flower pictures and flower arrangements for a show and sale at Crofton Country Club.
"It was huge, and it was also quite beautiful," Callahan said of the show.
Trees and bushes have been destroyed over the years from construction along Route 3, and Callahan said she will be sorry to see the latest destruction of a project for which she and other members labored.
Pub Date: 8/04/96