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Date: Feb 23, 2017

County Executive says a clever slogan does not make it true

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz testified before the Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation on February 22 opposing repeal of the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016. His testimony is reprinted below:

I am Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive, speaking against SB 307.   I speak not as the President of MACo but rather as the County Executive of the third largest county in the State, and a county that has 90% of the Baltimore Beltway within its borders.

A clever slogan – “Road Kill Bill” – does not make it true.

Nothing in the law keeps the Governor from building roads.  The Governor is simply not telling the truth. And let me suggest why.

The Governor cut the Red Line, without public discussion or legislative input.  He offered no Plan B, and the Baltimore region is still stuck in traffic. The Governor then diverted the money from the Red Line that was to be used for easing traffic congestion in the Baltimore region, to fund rural road projects that have significantly lower traffic counts. The Governor cut the tolls, but what he really cut was $54 million annually from the transportation budget. Now the Governor is facing a reduction in revenues due to the decrease of the price of gasoline.

Guess what?   The impact of all of these decisions is that the Governor can’t fund major transportation projects that alleviate traffic congestion and promote economic development.

That, I suggest, is the real truth behind this clever slogan.  We owe it to the public to have transparency in how and why we fund transportation projects.

Since 1976, Baltimore County’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has been dedicated to recognizing and preserving important structures that represent the diverse history of Baltimore County. With the assistance of citizens, numerous sites representing the important contributions of African Americans have been designated Baltimore County Landmarks. These unique places serve as physical reminders of the accomplishments of African American communities. This is especially important as many buildings associated with African American history have been lost before they could be discovered.   

Landmark Lodge No. 40 Free and Accepted Masons

The Landmark Lodge No. 40 Free and Accepted Masons is located in the historic African American community of Winters Lane in Catonsville. Established in 1904, the lodge is affiliated with the historically significant “Prince Hall” Masonic organization and serves as a constituent Lodge of the Most Worshipful (M.W.) Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Maryland. The building was constructed ca. 1896 for Morning Star Baptist Church and acquired by the Lodge in 1931. There are many fraternal organizational buildings in Baltimore County still intact, but few survive in African American communities.  As the only active chapter of Prince Hall Freemasons meeting in the County, the Lodge serves as a historic link to African American fraternal organizations in the United States and represents an important cultural aspect of African American life, both past and present. 


The small historic African American community of Chattolanee is located along Greenspring Valley Road and immediately north of the railroad grade of what was the Greenspring Branch of the Western Maryland Railroad.  Developed around the establishment of the Green Spring Church, the community dwellings, including the Hazel Thomas House, built ca. 1890, are simple examples of the Gothic Revival-style that survive to tell the story of this African American settlement.  

Lutherville Colored School House

The historic community of Lutherville, best known for its collection of beautiful 19th century buildings, is also the home of The Lutherville Colored School House. Constructed ca. 1908, School No. 24, District 8, is one of the few surviving examples of school buildings constructed exclusively for African American children in Baltimore County. Although the State required Counties to provide teachers for African American children after the Civil War, most early schools shared space with other community activities. Built exclusively as a school, this sturdy building was lovingly restored and now serves as a museum dedicated to the history of African American education.

Worthington Slave Barracks

Located in Granite, the log and stone remains of the Worthington Slave Barracks survive as a physical reminder of slavery in Baltimore County. Associated with the Worthington family of Granite, Thomas Worthington and his heirs were once one of the largest land owners and slaveholders in Baltimore County, rivaled only by Charles Ridgely of Hampton. The Barracks are situated in the center of Thomas’s son Rezin Worthington’s 19th century landholdings, along with separate slave and family cemeteries. 



Dowden Chapel and Cemetery

In the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County, the Dowden Chapel and Cemetery is a unique 19th century African American church that also served as a school. Deeded to five African-American Trustees by Nicholas Gatch in 1853, the intent was to expand the Methodist Episcopal Church’s strong presence in Baltimore County. The current Chapel presents a unique and distinctive representation of ecclesiastical architecture from the mid-19th century that has been largely unaltered since its original construction. The cemetery has many excellent and well-preserved examples of home crafted grave markers that demonstrate the considerable effort, artistic endeavor and skills of the African Americans who created them. Although the Chapel is no longer officially affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Trustees responsible for the care of the Chapel and cemetery still maintain the building and grounds for the use of its congregation. Once a year the Chapel is opened for a homecoming for its many generations of members.

Ernest Lyon Nursery School

The Ernest Lyon Nursery School building was constructed ca. 1945 on a dedicated lot within the Ernest Lyon Defense Housing Project in Turner Station. The project was developed under the Federal Works Administration to address the housing needs of defense workers who were employed at the Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point plant. Intended specifically for African American families, the complex and community buildings were designed by noted African American architect Hilyard R. Robinson, who was a pioneer in incorporating modern architectural styles into public housing projects. Robinson believed these well- designed buildings would improve the quality of life for African Americans. As war housing was being sold or demolished, the Federal government sold the building to the Turner Station Progressive Association in 1953. The building continued to serve the residents as a branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, a YMCA, and as a post for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).  The structure is an important surviving example of the childcare works completed under the Lanham Act, the first time government supported pre-school was subsidized for all children, regardless of race or financial need. It is the only surviving example in Baltimore County. 

By Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner, Department of Planning

To learn more about Baltimore County Landmarks and Historic Districts, you can find us on the web at

To learn more about visiting these sites, go to Baltimore County Tourism and Promotion

Revised September 11, 2017