Tuesday, March 01, 2011

20 Acres in Elkridge

How hard can that be?

Actually it’s proven to be pretty hard because 20 acres of available land in Elkridge doesn’t readily exist. There are a few larger parcels of land and some smaller ones as well. The larger ones may or may not be able to carve out 20 acres and the smaller ones can only work if you “assemble” a couple of them together to get what you need. For an elementary school in HoCo these days, you need about 20 acres, twice as much as The Rouse Company provided for Columbia’s first elementary school.

Elkridge needs another elementary school. They have lots of kids in portables and new families are still moving in. Elkridge has been promised a second elementary school but they don't have a site yet and time is slipping away. If they don’t get one by 2013 most all new residential development will grind to a halt.

That’s why the developers’ offer of 20 acres of land for free in Elkridge was so enticing. It sort of solved the problem. I say sort of because if you were simply evaluating a site based on merit, the Oxford Square site wouldn't make the short list. And that’s even before CSX started focusing in on this area for a new intermodal container terminal. Oxford Square is a 122 acre mixed use enclave in the middle of a rail served industrial district. This is an area for industry, not ABC’s.

I’m thinking that the HoCo public school system is going to take a pass on this site now. While it is difficult to find a good site it is not impossible. It just won’t be cheap.
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