It's nice, even without a lake

The Baltimore Sun

The only thing missing from Owings Mills New Town is the lake.

Back in the 1980s, the developers' vision for the newly designated growth area in Owings Mills included a man-made lake. When an Army Corps of Engineers study concluded the lake would have a negative environmental impact, not only did it cancel plans for the lake, it also killed the community's original name: Lakeside. However, the central road through the area had already been dedicated, so today New Town residents traverse Lakeside Boulevard to get to their homes and to visit shops.

With new parks, new schools, new restaurants and thousands of new residents, New Town still seems new more than a decade later. That's partly because the community continues to grow rapidly. The area, located about 20 miles northwest of downtown Baltimore, frequently draws residents who work at large employers nearby, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield and T. Rowe Price.

"It's kind of a young area, family-oriented, with lots of amenities," says Pam Wilks, a real estate agent at Long & Foster's New Town Office. "It has good shopping, dining, walking trails and lots of activities for children. It's a great mixed community."

Housing stock --The housing stock offers much variety with most of the homes built within the last decade or so. Some detached single-family homes are available, but the majority of properties are townhouses and condos.

Wilks says most of the houses in Owings Mills New Town typically sell for $300,000 to $500,000. Condos go for prices in the $200,000 range.

New residential developments continue to emerge nearby. Ryan Homes is building the Esplanade at Red Run, a community of garage condominiums starting at about $250,000 and located just a couple of miles outside New Town.

Rentals --Several apartment complexes are along Lakeside Boulevard. In addition, single-family houses, such as townhouses, often are rented out by homeowners. Monthly rents are $1,400 to $2,000 for a two-bedroom condo or a three-bedroom townhouse, according to Wilks.

Schools --New Town Elementary, Deer Park Middle Magnet and New Town High School serve students in Owings Mills New Town. New Town Elementary and New Town High have met the state's Adequate Yearly Progress, which is used to track academic achievement and make accountability decisions. However, Deer Park Middle failed to meet state proficiency levels in mathematics.

Crime --"Basically, it is a very safe place in which to live in the county," says Bill Toohey, spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department. When occasional issues have popped up, such as street crime, they have been met with "specific initiatives that target those problems with aggressive enforcement," says Toohey.

Transportation --Owings Mills New Town has easy access to Interstate 695 for city commuters, as well as convenient access to I-795 for those who commute to nearby Carroll County.

"A lot of people who transfer to Maryland come to Owings Mills because of the options for commuting," says Wilks.

Public transportation includes the Metro, which runs between Owings Mills and downtown. A new parking garage, part of the Metro Centre at Owings Mills development, opened last year for residents who use the Metro. Several bus routes serve the Owings Mills area.

Shopping --Two plazas along Lakeside Boulevard, New Town Village Center and Brookside Commons, offer convenient shops within walking distance for residents. The Owings Mills Town Center mall is a short drive or a long walk away.

Located within a few miles is the planned Metro Centre at Owings Mills, currently under construction, which calls for a mix of residential, retail, restaurants and a community college and library.

Dining in --Giant Foods at New Town Village Center is the largest grocery store in the neighborhood and within walking distance for many residents. Food Lion is a short drive away.

Dining out --Within the community, there are several options, including sandwiches, pizza and Italian and Chinese fare. The restaurant park near the mall offers several chains and a variety of menus, including seafood, burgers, Mexican and barbecue.

Nightlife --In this family-centered area, nightlife options are few, but include a movie theater at the mall. Restaurant bars near the mall are also popular. Otherwise, residents can head to the city or hangouts along Reisterstown Road.

Parks and recreation --The neighborhood is near Soldiers Delight Park, which offers hiking trails, and Northwest Regional Park, which offers athletic fields, picnic pavilions and walking paths. Northwest Regional Park is also home to the Ravens training facility. Residents of New Town have access to a pool and tennis courts within the community. During the summer months, movies are shown outdoors at the Village Center.



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103** * Information courtesy of Pam Wilks of the Long & Foster New Town Office, Owings Mills. **Information based on sales in 2007 for the entire ZIP code, compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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