Heritage Trail blocked off to keep vehicles out of road
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:29

 

At the request of the community, the uncompleted Heritage Trail was blocked off by Baltimore County. photo by Ben Boehl

Community complained about dumping

by Ben Boehl

    It was once known as the Heritage Trail, then it was dubbed “the road  to nowhere.” And now it is known as the road that is closed.
    The Heritage Trail was intended to connect historic Dundalk to Canton. A part of the road was built off Willow Spring Road that was meant to connect St. Helena to Broening Highway, but the project wasn’t completed, as funding was pulled last year by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. 
    Now the road dead-ends in St. Helena, and metal poles were put up to keep vehicles off of the road.
    County government spokesperson Ellen Kobler said the request for the poles came from the community.
    “One of the biggest complaints from the community was dumping.  There aren’t any street lights, and community members said the dead end was an easy place to dump without detection,” Kobler said. “When the county put the road project on hold, the community was concerned the dumping would be worse because everyone would know the road wasn’t going through and it was an easy drop site.”
    Shirley Gregory, president of the St. Helena Community Association, confirmed that the community’s request was made to prevent the end of the road as a place for dumping.   
    “People were driving into the road to nowhere and dumping. So since the road is not going to be finished for at least three more years, we asked to have it blocked off,” Gregory said.
    When the county pulled the funding for the Heritage Trail project, Gregory and many of the county and city residents of St. Helena were upset with the decision.
    Bruce Ebert, who lives on Elrino Street in O’Donnell Heights, is upset that the road was never completed, but wants to know why the new road isn’t being used in some capacity.
    “That asphalt is just sitting there. Put some paths for the dogs or for a bike trail. Don’t let it just sit there,” said Ebert, who stated he is a visitor and supporter of the Dundalk area.
    Gregory argued that it is not that simple, as grass is needed for a dog park and not asphalt, and Baltimore City owns the rest of the vacant land.
    “Well, the remainder of the road to nowhere is located in the city, and the county was going to buy it but that would cost them a cool $1 million and another million to finish the road. The dog park is located inside of St. Helena Park, which is in the county,” Gregory said.
    Ebert is also upset that after the money was wasted on the unused road, that another $215,000 of funding from both the state and county is being spent on the dog park.
    “I’m not against a dog park. I’m against them spending all the money on this,” Ebert said. “I think people had good intentions, but they weren’t thinking it through.”
    Gregory responded that  she was unaware that anyone opposed the dog park.
    “I have only heard great things and people seem real happy that it is going in.  I am sure that there is going to be some people that don’t like the idea, but that is with most things in life,” Gregory said.
    The dog park is set to open this winter.