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Give Catonsville credit for first arts and entertainment district, but Pikesville could be next

Pikesville Armory (Officially Pikesville Military Reservation)
Pikesville Armory (Officially Pikesville Military Reservation) (Photo by Brendan Cavanaugh)

Congratulations to Catonsville for acquiring the first arts and entertainment district in Baltimore County (“Welcome to Music City. Will the Catonsville arts district make Baltimore County a tourist attraction?” Dec. 16). We have been working with the leadership of the Baltimore County Arts Guild, the Catonsville arts group led by Marilyn Maitland and Kirby Spencer to accomplish this for them as the first community in the county to acquire this status.

The wonderful article in The Sun mentions several other areas in Baltimore County seeking to acquire this coveted status as well but, remarkably, does not even mention Pikesville. Ever since the 14-acre, historically preserved, unique in many ways National Guard Armory property on Reisterstown Road was abandoned by the military about four years ago, we have been working hard to establish it as the heart of an arts district. Gov. Larry Hogan appointed a Commission on the Future of the Pikesville Armory, which reported unanimously that it should be developed for public use, primarily as an arts and recreational campus, with compatible commercial uses. The state and county have each contributed $172,000 to fund studies of the feasibility, costs and funding of this proposal and three consultants are now in the process of doing just that, overseen by a citizen advisory group (“How about arts districts in Baltimore County?” July 3).

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We hope that Pikesville will be next in line to also acquire that tax-preferred arts district status which will help to create at the armory the gem, the magnet that attracts people, and thus becomes the economic engine that drives the revitalization and sustainability of Pikesville. Thanks to the enlightened leadership of County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. and our County Councilman, Izzy Patoka, who support our efforts, Pikesville’s future should also be bright.

Howard Needle and Mel Mintz, Pikesville

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The writers are president and chairman of the board of 1,000 Friends of Pikesville, Inc.

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