Elkridge, Md. 21075. It's been a long time coming.
Yesterday, residents of the community in eastern Howard County finally got the news they wanted to hear: Beginning July 1, Elkridge will have its own ZIP code.
The announcement by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin -- before residents and postal service and elected officials gathered yesterday morning at Elkridge Library -- ended 28 years of the community's being included in a ZIP code that covers parts of Baltimore County and Baltimore City.
"This took more patience than some people were willing to exhibit," said Ed Huber, an Elkridge resident of 32 years.
Residents are hoping the new ZIP code will pay off soon, in the form of less confusion among delivery truck drivers and perhaps lower auto-insurance rates.
Over the years, Elkridge Community Association has sent the U.S. Postal Service a number of petitions, growth estimates and letters from community leaders pleading for a ZIP code for the town.
A zone of its own
Residents insisted that a separate ZIP code was needed because: Elkridge has experienced a growth spurt in recent years and is expected to continue growing at 4 percent annually, said county planning and zoning department officials.
The community needed a means to identify itself.
"This town is too historic to be blurred in with Baltimore," said Linda Carey, president of Elkridge Community Association.
Elkridge, the county's oldest European settlement, was founded in 1695.
The new ZIP code's boundaries aren't precisely defined, postal officials said yesterday. But tentative plans show that it will cover Route 108 to the west, the old Baltimore and Ohio rail line to the east, River Road to the north and Route 175 to the south.
Now, most Elkridge residents share the 21227 ZIP code with parts of Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The remaining residents have the same ZIP codes as residents of Columbia, Ellicott City, Jessup or Hanover.
Postal Service officials said the agency considers its operational needs and an area's population density before establishing a new ZIP code.
The area's growth was the clincher, said Anthony J. Vegliante, Baltimore district manager for the U.S. Postal Service.
In the past 15 years, the Elkridge area's population has more than tripled, from 7,400 in 1980 to 24,900 in 1995, according to Howard County planning data.
About 37,000 people are projected to call the area home by 2005.
"It has been very difficult convincing the postal service of Elkridge's needs," said Cardin, a Baltimore Democrat, at the ZIP code announcement.
"The residents have been turned down so many times; they've been told it wouldn't happen so many times," he said. "But we've finally made it clear that Elkridge deserves its own ZIP code."
Pub Date: 4/22/97