In a boost to those working to turn Odenton into a vibrant town center, County Executive Janet S. Owens has approved a nearly $201,000 contract for walkways geared to make train and bus service more accessible to pedestrians.
Almost $150,000 in additional county funds will go to landscaping along Morgan and Odenton roads, and to a Department of Public Works project to extend public sewer service to Epiphany Episcopal Church and 11 other properties.
"I'm elated to find that Odenton has received money for some of the projects that are well-needed in the community," said Katharina E. DeHaas, chairman of the Odenton Small Area Planning Committee.
"The pedestrian access will allow more people to commute within the area."
Cossentino Contracting will install the new sidewalks beginning in mid-August.
Ultimately, the Odenton area will have an interconnecting pedestrian system, a feature deemed essential for a town center.
"We're trying to enable people to get out of their cars," said Planning and Zoning spokesman John A. Morris. "We want them to be able to use the alternative transportation."
Odenton, at the center of multiple transportation networks, was planned as a town center in the 1960s, when the county started examining growth. County lawmakers adopted a formal Odenton plan in 1995, Morris said.
Since then, community representatives have come up with 30 projects they say are needed in the area, including improved septic and water systems, a library, an adult learning facility and more pedestrian walkways.
"The forecast is that the county needs to put money in the projects before developers will come," DeHaas said.
"They have to see the county has a real interest in getting the town center."
In the past two years, the county has acquired the potential site for a regional library, widened Piney Orchard Parkway east of the train station and laid the foundation for Town Center Boulevard, according to a county news release.