Friday, August 17, 2007

Belmont Stakes

The daily commute from my home takes me along winding tree shaded country roads like College Avenue, Ilchester and Landing Roads. I cruise along the perimeter of Patapsco State Park and past the Belmont Conference Center on Elibank Drive.

Normally I continue on through Elkridge and into the BWI Aerotropolis but today I turned down Elibank and made a fast left onto the private road that leads to the Belmont Conference Center.

It has been awhile since I've heard anything about Belmont which is surprising. The current occupant of the property and the private property owners adjacent to it have been butting heads for the past three years over the future of this picturesque and historic property. If you ever wanted to see what a Howard County estate looked like in the Revolutionary War years a trip to Belmont will reward your curiosity. The 82 acre estate is surrounded by the state park.

Belmont today is at a critical crossroad. The community college says that it needs to improve the property and facilities in order to make it economically sustainable. The trust folks point to a side deal with Chip Lundy that was originally part of the colleges acquisition agreement as an indication that the college can't be trusted to preserve the beauty and character of the estate and surrounding grounds.

After reading extensively through the pros and cons I am still unsure as to where I come out on this. On the one hand I think that nothing will satisfy the Save Belmont folks short of doing nothing while on the other hand I think the college has done an abysmal job of establishing trust that they will do the right thing with their stewardship of this local treasure.