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Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway

This blog was writ­ten by Kevin Doyle, Senior Advi­sor to the Direc­tor, Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity. He joined OES for 6 months to work on the PVHG project. Thanks Kevin!

Approx­i­mately 10 years ago I was Pres­i­dent of the Greater Elkridge Com­mu­nity Asso­ci­a­tion (GECA). A group called the Friends of the Pat­ap­sco Her­itage Green­way came to us with a fully devel­oped plan for some­thing called the Pat­ap­sco Val­ley Her­itage Green­way Area (PVHG), ask­ing for our sup­port for the project. We under­stood that the devel­op­ment of the plan was an open process, but quite frankly, we were sur­prised that this plan had been devel­oped to such a degree with­out ask­ing for our input. GECA never took a for­mal vote on the issue as it faded away before we had time to do our home­work. It was always my feel­ing that the project had merit, but, that com­mu­ni­ties sur­round­ing the her­itage area needed to be more for­mally involved in the devel­op­ment stages. It has always been my view that you should not sur­prise a com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tion, espe­cially with a fully devel­oped plan.

Fast for­ward 10 years. County Exec­u­tive Ken Ulman has given his sup­port to revisit the Pat­ap­sco Val­ley Her­itage Green­way idea and I am on Exec­u­tive loan from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to Howard County with the lead for this effort. I still feel the same way, that there are sig­nif­i­cant mer­its to the project but that a fully trans­par­ent, fully par­tic­i­pa­tive, thought­ful process needs to hap­pen to exam­ine the pros and cons as well as how the PVHG would be con­fig­ured and gov­erned. Once cer­ti­fied as a Her­itage Area, there would be loans, grants and tax cred­its avail­able from the State of Mary­land for prop­erty own­ers, non-profits and gov­ern­ment agen­cies within the Her­itage Area or Tar­get Invest­ment Zone. How­ever, I do think that the devel­op­ment of the gov­er­nance piece of the pro­posal is key. Who has over­sight for approval of projects and spend­ing related to the PVHG is impor­tant in pro­vid­ing long-range sta­bil­ity and rea­son­abil­ity to the process.

The team will have rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Howard County Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sus­tain­abil­ity, Howard County Con­ser­vancy, Howard County Sus­tain­abil­ity Board, Howard County Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Zon­ing, Howard County Depart­ment of Recre­ation and Parks, Howard County Tourism, Mary­land His­toric Trust, The Friends of the Pat­ap­sco Her­itage Green­way and the com­mu­ni­ties of Elkridge and Elli­cott City.

All ini­tial dis­cus­sions and plan­ning will be pre­lim­i­nary in nature as we are wait­ing for the Bal­ti­more County Exec­u­tive to weigh in on whether he sup­ports for­mal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the PVHG. If he does pro­vide his sup­port, com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives from our neigh­bors in Bal­ti­more County will be added. The autho­riz­ing leg­is­la­tion for the Her­itage Area con­cept requires all polit­i­cal enti­ties involved in the Her­itage Area to be in sup­port. There­fore, the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process can­not pro­ceed with­out the sup­port of both County Executives.

Kevin Doyle
March 2011

Green Tip

Buy local.It’s fresher: Produce shipped from outside the country travels up to two weeks before it arrives in grocery stores.