Comfortable, convenient retreat

The Baltimore Sun

With a multitude of housing options, friendly neighbors and convenience to major thoroughfares, it's no wonder Carney remains a popular spot to call home.

Just outside the Baltimore Beltway, the community of Carney, which shares a ZIP code with Parkville, offers its residents a comfortable, down-to-earth retreat.

"It's a blend of the old and the new," said Meg O'Hare, president of the Carney Improvement Association. "It's a wonderful place to live."

The improvement association's boundaries include Interstate 695 to the south, Old Harford Road to the west, the Big Gunpowder Falls to the north and Ferguson Avenue and Walther Boulevard to the east.

The area is named for Thomas Carney, an Irish immigrant and stone cutter who operated a general store and Eight Mile House Tavern during the late 1800s at what is now the intersection of Harford and Joppa roads. He eventually built a house behind the general store, according to a history on the Carney Improvement Association's Web site, that stood in the area of present-day Thornewood Court. The house was later moved to the corner of Joppa and Avondale roads and now serves as a real estate office.

Residents praise the area's easy access to Interstates 695 and 95. They also say neighbors are eager to help when it comes time to cut grass, shovel snow or carry groceries.

Houses are nestled along streets that often feed from the more commercial corridors of either Harford or Joppa roads. And its blend of housing styles is seen as part of its beauty.

"It has a certain quaintness and character of times gone by. Not every house looks the same," O'Hare said. "It's a welcoming community. It's a nice place to live."

The neighborhood takes extra pride in honoring its veterans with a Veterans' Memorial on the grounds of Carney Elementary School and during an annual ceremony held the Sunday closest to Veterans' Day.

Housing:: "People love the neighborhood feel of the area," said Jennifer Bayne, a Carney resident and real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Roland Park. "It's a really tight-knit community and it's very welcoming."

Styles and ages of the houses run the gamut and offer a wide range of prices to match. The housing stock includes Cape Cods, split levels, ranchers, Colonials, bungalows and townhouses.

The area is a great spot for first-time homeowners because of its large array of affordable housing options.

A town house in Carney is likely to sell in the high-$100,000 to mid-$200,000 range, while single-family homes start in the low-$200,000 range and can go to more than $500,000.

"It's very convenient to the Beltway, [I-]95 and even the city, yet it's tucked away," Bayne said. "It's such a diverse area. You have people who have been here 50 or 60 years and you have new families moving in."

Rentals:: A handful of apartment buildings offer mostly one- and two-bedroom units. There are also single-family detached houses available for rent for $1,100 to $1,700, according to Bayne.

Crime: : Carney is considered a stable and peaceful community with very little crime, according to Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department. The most prevalent problem in the area is theft from automobiles. In the first half of 2008, there were 86 cases compared with 46 cases reported during the first half of 2007.

Schools: : Most residents of Carney are served by Pine Grove, Harford Hills and Carney elementary schools, Pine Grove Middle School, Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology, Loch Raven High School and Parkville High School Center for Math/Science. All six schools scored well on the Maryland School Assessments and all met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements, a tool used to track academic progress and make accountability decisions.

Shopping: : The Carney Village Shopping Center is in the center of the community, and several businesses and services line Harford and Joppa roads. There are popular strip malls and large chain stores on the outskirts of the community, including North Plaza Mall and Perring Plaza Shopping Center. For more of a mall experience, Towson Town Center, White Marsh Mall and The Avenue at White Marsh are nearby.

Dining In: : Mars Supermarket in the Carney Village Shopping Center is in the center of Carney.

Dining out: : Favorites include the Bowman Restaurant, The Barn Crab House and Restaurant and The Firehouse Tavern, but the area offers choices including pizza, subs, bagels, sushi, seafood and Chinese food.

Nightlife: : The comedy club Magooby's Joke House is in the heart of Carney at the Bowman Restaurant.

Recreation: : Residents say they would like to see more open space within the community. Currently there's the 14-acre Krause Park on Summit Avenue. The area is also close to Double Rock Park, Cromwell Valley Park, Belmont Park and the Gunpowder Falls State Park, which includes the Graham Equestrian Center. The Baltimore County Game and Fish Protective Association is also there.

carney by the numbers

ZIP code: : 21234

Homes on the market: : 84

Average sale price: : $265,267*

Average days on the market: : 77*

*Information based on sales during the past 12 months, compiled by Jennifer Bayne of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Roland Park and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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