In the November 7 edition of the The Avenue News, the article titled “Despite opposition, Middle River sports complex gets green light” made a series of statements that did not and do not reflect the final project plan.

In light of the article’s misstatements, I think it would be helpful for all of the readers to understand the genesis of this project.

Approximately 12 months ago, I was approached by the developers of Greenleigh at Crossroads with a plan to develop a sports complex that would not only serve the needs of the residents of the 6th District but also the larger need for recreational facilities for the area.

I hear in almost all of the community meetings I attend that Baltimore County needs more recreational facilities. However, we face funding challenges given the need to renovate and construct our schools.

I viewed this as a potential win-win for the citizens of the 6th District and Baltimore County at large.

As with all projects of this nature, I demand the developer engage with the community and come to a consensus as to what the various parties would accept – if they would accept any project at all.

In this area, the developers engage the communities through the Essex-Middle River Civic Council (EMRCC), which is made of up representatives of over 20 recognized community associations. A series of meetings were held with the Civic Council where the developers presented plans and held extensive conversations about every aspect of the project.

At a subsequent meeting, the members of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council voted to unanimously support the project as negotiated. To be fair, my office did hear from some citizens of the area that opposed the project.

I especially heard from a number of residents from The Preserve at Windlass Run that opposed the project in the form that had been accepted by the Essex-Middle River Civic Council.

When my office became aware of this opposition, I demanded that the developer have additional community engagement meetings to see if a consensus could be reached between the parties. A number of additional meetings were held where a number of citizens expressed strong opposition to the plan.

The portion of the plan that met with the strongest opposition was the new housing that included 22 townhomes and 100 “millennial apartments”. After completing the additional engagement, the developer returned with a plan that dropped the 100 apartments and the 22 townhomes and replaced that with 17 single family cottages.

While evaluating the new plan, my office was contacted by a number of the residents of The Preserve at Windlass Run to state that after having direct meetings with the developer and understanding the newly revised plan, they are now supportive of the scaled down plan.

It was only at this time was I willing to support and move forward with legislation that made this project possible.

In the article it is stated that there was “No Community Input”. That couldn’t be farther from the truth as evidenced by the numerous meetings held with the impacted communities.

I know not everyone will agree with my decision, but on balance, these badly needed new recreational facilities will serve our area for decades to come. I look forward to seeing these great new facilities become a reality and serve the citizens of Baltimore County.

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