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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: recreation and parks

Project to Include Prominent Retail and Health Care Tenants

Baltimore County announced today that the proposed Merritt Pavilion project at the former North Point school site would create 2,000 jobs for Dundalk, including 1,500 short term construction jobs during its build-out, and more than 500 permanent jobs once completed. 

National tenants that signed letters of intent include popular, new to Dundalk, retailers such as Chipotle, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-a and Five Guys.

In addition, the project will include an internationally renowned medical center providing needed services to the community. 

Modern Recreational Center

The development will also feature a modern, air conditioned 24,395 square foot Eastfield Community Center that will include a theater, a multi-purpose room and indoor facilities for soccer and wrestling programs. The new building was designed with substantial input from the recreation and theater users of the current building which was constructed in 1953 as a junior high school. An independent professional assessment cited the need for $18.5 million in repairs needed to bring the building up to modern code standards, citing ADA violations, asbestos removal, and window, plumbing and electrical replacements.  Construction of the proposed new building would be paid from proceeds generated by the sale of the former school.

The project also includes upgrades to four baseball fields and two full-size soccer fields. In addition, the developer would pay for a new turf field at nearby Merritt Park.

Improved Quality of Life, Increased Jobs

“When you talk about positive economic development, it’s about two things: improving quality of life and increasing jobs,” said Will Anderson, Director of Economic and Workforce Development in Baltimore County. “Merritt Pavilion is a project that scores big on both fronts. New jobs, great health care and restaurant options, a new rec building, these are really strong additions for the community. These kinds of improvements will make Dundalk an even better place to live.”

“This project will create jobs, bring in national retailers, and most importantly replace a 60 -year old building with a larger and better space for recreation programs,” said Cary Quintana, Dundalk resident and small business owner. “Vibrant retail and a modern community center are just what Dundalk families want and need.”

“The Merritt Point Pavilion project in Dundalk is a boost to the entire region, with national retailers, a world renowned medical center, and more than 2,000 jobs in the Dundalk community,” said Michael E. Moore, CEO of Sparrows Point Terminal. “As we move forward with redeveloping Sparrows Point, we’re encouraged to see other projects and investments being made in the area that will make Southeastern Baltimore County an even more attractive place for companies and their employees to locate, live, work and raise a family.” 

While the development awaits technical approval from the State’s Board of Public Works, Merritt Pavilion has already been approved by the Baltimore County Council on three occasions, by a Baltimore County Administrative Law Judge, by the Baltimore County Board of Appeals, by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, by the Maryland Department of Environment, and by the State Interagency Committee on School Construction.

kids enjoying healthy mealGreat Resources to Help Keep Your Family Fit

Decreasing childhood obesity is on everyone’s mind these days. The rates of childhood obesity have tripled since 1980. More than one in 10 children from the age of two to five will become obese.

The good news is that this year, for the first time, obesity rates for preschool children went down, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Family Wellness is Key

The reality is that preventing children from becoming obese is really about family wellness. Daily physical activity, planning healthy meals and limiting screen time all create an environment that promotes healthy kids.

Many federal, state and local programs are working hard to decrease the rates of obesity with better food habits and more physical activity. Some of the interventions that have been implemented are: the Let’s Move initiative from First Lady Michelle Obama, the YWCA’s Fit and Fun Program, National Standards for Foods in Schools, ChooseMyPlate, phone apps and other devices that track fitness and calories. Prevention is the key!

Baltimore County has resources that can help your family move towards a journey to wellness! Since 2012, the County’s Health Coalition has worked with partners to promote physical activity and prevent childhood obesity.  Do your part to help our children and yourself. Take advantage of the local parks and walking trails in our County. Visit them as a family and achieve your goal of wellness for your whole family!

Laura Culbertson, RN, MSN
Public Health Nurse Administrator
Baltimore County Department of Health

photo of girl in wheelchair with horseOpening a World of Recreation for People with Disabilities

One of the greatest joys of my job is to watch the expression on the face of a parent or grandparent of a child or young adult with disabilities when they learn about the programs offered by the Office of Therapeutic Recreation (TR).

It’s like watching a light go off or separating the clouds to reveal a bright beam of sunshine. “I didn’t know” is often what we hear.   

Specifically Designed Programs

The Department of Recreation and Parks is quite proud of the services offered through our “TR” programs. Under the superb leadership and advocacy of an exceptional staff and dedicated volunteers, TR offers a wide variety of programs designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends. 

Imagine opening up a world of adaptive sports and fitness programming as an option in the life of an individual with disabilities. There is the Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program offered as a cooperative effort between TR and the Maryland Council for Special Equestrians. Individuals with special needs can participate in “Barn Buddies,” “Meet the Horse” field trips, and two summer camps “Ride with Pride” and “Everything Horses.” 

“The Sky is the Limit” community theatre in Dundalk offers people with disabilities the chance to shine on stage and behind the scenes in various productions through the year, including a summer performing arts camp.

TR options also include arts and crafts, adaptive aquatics through the League for People with Disabilities, Inc., and adaptive water-skiing in cooperation with Baltimore Adapted Recreation and Sports at Rocky Point Park in Essex.

TR operates 10 summer day camps that run for five weeks throughout the county with swimming, nature, crafts, sports, games and field trips as only a part of the fun and well supervised programs. 

Social dances, social programs, sign language classes and horticultural therapy (TALMAR – Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland) are a part of the vast, impressive and valued services offered through TR.

Program Information

Details of the TR program are readily available through the office of Therapeutic Recreation by simply calling for your copy the bi-annual newsletter “Leisure Resources” (PDF) at 410-887-5370 (410-887-5319 TTY/Deaf).

Please help us deliver the message of this service by shouting from the rooftops; TR’s a true point of pride in that Baltimore County crown; don’t let it be a secret…let this hidden jewel shine!

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