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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

Turn off water while brushingTurning off the water between rinses can save at least two gallons in one brushing session.