Pursue Armory Development


Justin Silberman did a fine job presenting issues associated with the dormant Pikesville Armory (“Pikesville at a Crossroads,” Oct. 13). However, I disagree with the characterization that the community is at a “crossroads,” one of the roads being “a downward shift for the town in recent years.”

Pikesville does have business turnovers with periodic vacancies along with the inability to retain good restaurants. Having represented Pikesville for 20 years as a state delegate and living several hundred feet from the armory, I can say it has had the same problems for more than 30 years. The saving grace, to balance out the commercial real estate problems, is the strength of the surrounding neighborhoods. The constant problem is an inability to attract residents to patronize Pikesville.

The armory presents a nice 14-acre option, whether as an artist colony as Howard Needle and Mel Mintz [of 1000 Friends of Pikesville, Inc.] envision or as an upscale shopping center envisioned by [area developers] Carl and Steven Verstandig.

The geographic crossroads is the nearby intersection of Reisterstown and Slade Avenue/Milford Mill roads. The armory is the gateway to the communities along these roads. Developing the armory property can enhance Pikesville and should be pursued.

The good news is that the local political leadership is involved: State Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Dels. Shelly Hettleman, Dan Morhaim and Dana Stein and Councilwoman Vicki Almond. The importance of their involvement is the armory disposition of State of Maryland surplus property for which they can exercise influence. The old Pikesville Elementary School was once on the block as state surplus. Today, that location is the Pikesville Library/Senior Center. Back then, the leadership was State Sen. Melvin Steinberg and Dels. Arthur Alperstein, Howard Needle and me. Our work did not dramatically change Pikesville, but it preserved and revitalized a section of our community.

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