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February 6, 2009

Hargett Farm! Wrong Target

Joe Charlebois

Although I agree with Mayor W. Jeff Holtzinger on most of his decisions, I have to come down on the opposite side of his decision to use the property off Butterfly Lane as a new city park.


I would love to see the City of Frederick develop a park and facility similar to the one that resides some 20 miles south of us in Germantown.


The park there is home to a splash zone (water playground), miniature golf, indoor swim facility, the Maryland Soccer Plex (including a small soccer-based stadium), picnic areas, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, archery range, hiking trails  biking trails. If this is what Mayor Holtzinger is modeling his park on, I am enthusiastically behind him.


However, the Hargett Farm property, which has been seized through eminent domain, is possibly one fifth the size of the Germantown park. What makes the South Germantown Recreational Park so perfect is that it was set up on nearly 700 acres not bound by constricted roads, neighborhoods and an interstate.


Despite the need for positive growth in the west end of town, this is not the answer. A better location would likely be north of town set near the proposed interchange of US-15 and Monocacy Boulevard, where access would likely be as simply as exiting the off-ramp.


As one who lived off of Ballenger Creek Pike for three years, I know very well the issues around traffic on Butterfly Lane and the feeder roads that connect West Patrick Street. In one word it's a mess.


As an added incentive, the mayor has decided to add a police station to the park plans. This isn't necessary. If the mayor would like to add an additional station in the area, he should look into the possibility of refurbishing the former State Police barracks.


An additional station in the area may show a greater presence, but a greater presence on patrol in the neighborhoods of western Frederick may be a greater use of dollars and sense.


Again, I am excited for the possibility for a recreational facility that could rival our neighbor to the south. It's just that the mayor has sought the wrong target.


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