TANEYTOWN -- Organizers of Taneytown's first Community Pride Day succeeded in sprucing up their town a bit yesterday, but failed to generate much response from the public.
Although Taneytown has about 5,000 residents, only some 50 people participated -- about half of them city or county employees who helped organize the event. Many of the others who were there work in Taneytown, but do not live there.
"I'm not disappointed. I'm actually pleased," said Madeline Morey, division manager for Citizen Services Department, who coordinated the event.
"It's like when you plan a birthday party," Morey said. "I'm just happy any people came."
The communitywide cleanup was part of an anti-crime initiative sponsored by the Family and Community Council of Taneytown, a volunteer organization whose members include town and county employees, as well as private citizens.
"When people keep up their community, they're more likely to take pride in it, and that makes crime less likely," Morey said.
Community Pride Day organizers spent four months and $3,000 of grant money from the state Office of Crime Control and Prevention on the cleanup. Almost half the money -- $1,335 -- was used to purchase trees.
Yesterday morning, volunteers gathered at the THS Recreation Area off Roberts Mill Road, then scattered to six sites in Taneytown chosen by a committee comprising Morey, Mayor W. Robert Flickinger, a representative from the county parks department and another county employee.
Working fast as temperatures rose, volunteers cleaned up a field across from the town library, weeded flower beds at Taneytown Memorial Park, and planted 30 trees in four locations.
"We just wanted to pitch in and help," said Steve Ball, who works in the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau. He weeded flower beds with his wife, Susan.
When the volunteers were done, mounds of reddish dirt were heaped around the bases of eight white pines in an open lot at the end of Spring Drive, a cul-de-sac lined with two-story duplexes.
The trees, recently removed from their baling-wire cocoons, looked like artificial Christmas trees just out of the box. Volunteers said the branches, which were clumped together at odd angles, will straighten as the trees settle after planting.
The rest of the trees -- sawtooth oak, sugar maple and thundercloud plum -- were distributed among an open lot off Roth Avenue, a parking lot island on Berry Court, and the Rod & Gun Club Park off Stumptown Road.
"Trees are beautiful, and they'll last forever if you treat them correctly," said Henry Alexander, a Taneytown real estate agent who was among the volunteers.
His co-worker, Lisa Trout, also helped -- even though she lives in Keymar.
"It's a good cause," she said. "We want to help the town."
Residents of Spring Drive said planting trees was a nice gesture, but a waste of time and money.
"I think it was nice, but in my opinion it'll stay nice for awhile, then the kids are going to tear it up," said Barbara Hinnebusch.
Her neighbor, JoAnn Ferrare, said the town and county should concentrate on solving existing problems instead of creating potential ones.
"We're just going to hope and pray that nobody does destroy the trees," said Flickinger, who wielded a shovel alongside other volunteers Saturday.
Sgt. Greg Woelfel of the Taneytown police -- another Community Pride Day volunteer -- said it will be up to town residents to protect what the volunteers accomplished.
"You have to try," he said of the volunteer efforts.
Rather than expressing discouragement at the turnout, Community Pride Day organizers looked to the future.
"This was just the first year -- it will grow," said Janice Kispert, a county Bureau of Housing employee. "Word will spread and we'll get more next year."
Pub Date: 5/17/98