'Edgewoodstock 2013' expected to bolster Edgewood's image

Edgewood hopes to shake its "negative stigma" by doing a time warp of sorts, hearkening to the summer of 1969 for a day-long music festival to be called "Edgewoodstock 2013."

Angela Peaker, a board member on the Edgewood Community Council, explained Wednesday the council is starting to promote the show with an eye toward showing the positive side of Edgewood.

The concert, a "multi-cultural and music festival," will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on June 22 at Edgewood Recreation Park.

"We would like to start first with erasing completely the negative stigma that Edgewood has," she said. "Everybody loves food and everybody likes music, right?"

Peaker said many positive things go on in Edgewood and the board hopes to let other county residents know that the area is a good community to live in, work and "just come and hang out."

"We are kind of shunned when it comes to economic development, when it comes to reputable businesses or higher-end businesses coming to Edgewood. We would like to change that," Peaker said.

She encouraged everyone at the Wednesday community council meeting to spread the word about the event or get vendors. Besides music and food, the day will feature artisan vendors and children's activities.

Peaker said she expects other parts of the county to build up Edgewood's positive reputation just as Edgewood residents have built up the reputation of others.

"We go to the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival, yes? We go to the Independence Day Parade in Bel Air, yes? Before we got ours [parade]," she said. "We helped them build up their reputation."

"We need everyone that is concerned about the community of Edgewood to help us," she said.

"The goal is to erase the negative stigma that Edgewood has received over several years," Peaker continued. "We do not hardly get any positive press. The press we usually get is negative."

"A lot of young people say, 'We're not able to make it out of Edgewood,'" she said, but explained that other areas have similar violence or negative events.

"The same things that happen in Edgewood, happen in Havre de Grace, but they do not get the negative exposure that we get in Edgewood," she said.

Gun control

Resident Daphne Alston, who has been battling to find the murderer of her son, Tariq Alston, fatally shot in 2008 while attending a party at the Joppa-Magnolia Fire Hall, told the community council she was at the Maryland General Assembly on Tuesday to testify about the controversial gun control legislation.

She said she was disappointed, however, to be told that Edgewood needs to step up to fight gun crime.

"I heard from everyone, 'your community is not doing enough. There's no one except yourself,'" she said, noting only she and fellow resident Mildred Samy went to speak in favor of the legislation.

Alston urged law enforcement to improve, noting she still has not heard anything new about her son's murder, and also told Edgewood residents things need to improve.

"You can't have a better community if you don't clean up some of this stuff," she said.

"Children know they're getting away with murder," she said. "Baltimore City [residents] are coming out here and they're wreaking havoc."

Thefts from cars

Capt. Chris Swain, of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said the entire area has seen a reduction in burglaries, which are down by 42 percent, but is still struggling with thefts from cars.

"Sometimes we're getting thefts of airbags, which we haven't seen for about three years," he said. "Airbags are very expensive so they'll steal them and sell them to a disreputable [facility]."

"Obviously there's not much you can do to combat that. If they're going to break in, they're going to break in," Swain said, but advised residents that criminals usually prefer an easy target and reminded them not to leave doors unlocked.

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