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Meeting Brainstorms Perry Hall's Beautification

Councilman David Marks invited additional community members to join the Downtown Perry Hall Beatification Committee.

The newly formed Downtown Perry Hall Beautification Committee held its first meeting Thursday evening at Perry Hall Elementary. Roughly six community members attended. 

Led by County Councilman David Marks, the meeting included the following highlights:

  • New seasonal banners are planned for the 10 poles between Perry Hall Elementary and Belair Road. Hanging plants from the poles, like they have in Towson, are also an option.
  • Would a local artist produce Perry Hall Gator sculptures for outdoor display to celebrate Perry Hall High's mascot? 
  • The committee will seek grants to fund new banners. 
  • Should Perry Hall's Christmas tree lighting ceremony be held using a larger tree at the corner of Joppa Road and Belair Road, near Double-T Diner?
  • The former Poor Little Rich Girl house will be demolished and the next structure must comply with standards restalished by the county design panel. 
  • New shrubbery planted near signs should be low maintenance. 
  • Area businesses should get involved in improvements to the streetscape's appearance. 
  • The planned reconstructed shopping center at Seasons Pizza will include a sign showing Downtown Perry Hall's logo. 
  • More people are invited to join the committee. 

Find additional information from the meeting in the live blog below. 

What changes would you like to see in Perry Hall's appearance? Share your suggestions in the comments.

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The following updates were recorded live during the meeting. 

5 p.m.

About six community members attended.

Councilman David Marks reviewed the commercial revitalization district, and county design standards. He also reviewed the new Seasons Pizza shopping center. The Poor Little Rich Girl will be demolished. 

5:06 p.m.

Bill Paulshock, owner of Bill's Seafood, said he hates to see the Poor Little Rich Girl house being torn down, but it's time. Because of the design review panel, the new structure there will be well designed. 

Marks said the corner of Belair and Joppa needs to be enhanced but landscaping gets neglected. 

Banners along Perry Hall Elementary have also been neglected. 

Everyone introduced themselves during the meeing at Marks' request.

5:12 p.m.

Marks said he wants more banners, a colorful one for half the year and a holiday one for winter. There are 10 poles.

Paulshock suggested flowers from the large poles. 

Attendees shared concerns about ripped banners and unmaintained shrubs at signs.

Paulshock asked if business owners could be obligated to maintain part of the streetscape. Marks said that was possible.

5:17 p.m.

Poor Little Rich Girl is owned by the same business as Double T. To redevelop it, they may have to provide some benefit to the larger community. 

Marks suggested a larger Perry Hall Christmas tree for the lighting ceremony at the corner of Joppa and Belair, owned by the Double T Diner. 

5:20 p.m.

An attendee talked about his experience with the county design review panel in Pikesville. He said it's confusing how much businesses have to comply with the panel and guidelines. But he said overall the panel is just free advice from volunteer professional designers and architects and business experts. He said the community can contribute input to the design panel on what's appropriate for the community. 

"The real trick is getting existing businesses to buy into that," he said. 

Marks said he wants to make sure he's not putting small businesses out of business. "It's not like Towson where you have huge businesses coming in," Marks said. 

An attendee said there should be ways to urge more businesses to create better signs.

Marks asked if everyone agreed on grant money for new banners.

Paulshock said Towson has been successful in that: "Every time I drive down there, I think Perry Hall should do that."

5:26 p.m.

An attendee asked if the banners design could be determined by a contest. Marks said that could be possible and volunteer fire companies could also support their cost. 

Marks said he's going to work on getting grants. 

5:30 p.m.

Marks asked for ideas about making the corner of Joppa and Belair look better, where the Double T is. 

"If we were dreaming, we could have a monument or a walkway or a fenced off area there that could hold the Christmas tree," an attendee said.

Some expressed frustration that options would be costly and require permission from Double T.

5:33 p.m.

Marks spoke about a grassy area owned by the SHA near the KFC and Minte Drive. It was expected to be a pocket park, but may be available for community use in another way. Another "Welcome to downtown Perry Hall" sign may go there. 

Business development really ends where the KFC is, Marks said. 

5:35 p.m.

Banners and flowering plants on poles are big priorities for Marks. 

Attendee said we can't compete with Towson because they have so much funding. 

But the revitalization district opens the door for fundraising, Marks said. 

5:37 p.m.

An attendee suggested using river rocks instead of mulch because you don't have to redo it every year. 

Marks said he is speaking with the Perry Hall Improvement Association and Perry Hall/White Marsh Business Association. They will be sending representatives to be part of the committee.

5:41 p.m.

Marks talked about having gator sculptures around area businesses. Banners are also planned for the high school's 50th anniversary. Maybe the school's art department could help with gator sculptures. 

Maybe an elementary school art teacher could help with sculptures, an attendee said. 

"Would it be great to have banners on this side of Belair Road and gators on the other side, like Gator Row ... I'm serious," Marks said. 

An attendee asked about what kind of budget they have.

There is no budget, but they can get grants, Marks said.

5:45 p.m.

An attendee suggested contests that offer revitalization money.

Part of the problem is Perry Hall is not a walkable community, unlike Towson, Marks said. 

"Crossing Belair Road if you're walking is horrendous!" an attendee said. 

Attendees discussed lighting, too much, or too little, what's secure and what's an eyesore. 

5:50 p.m.

Marks asked if there could be a mural, possibly on Papa Johns. 

State Sen. Kathy Klausmeier is interested in helping as well, but is in session. 

Landscapers may give a good deal, attendees discussed. 

Rely on vegetation that does not require heavy maintenance, they agreed. 

5:54 p.m.

Marks asked someone to research the crab sculptures outside businesses. 

Marks said he would move forward on getting grants for the banners. 

Marks is going to research cost of banners. 

Marks said he would get back together with everyone in a month. 

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Is Perry Hall's main commercial area looking a little shabby? Do you have ideas for polishing up the community's image? 

The first meeting to discuss ways to improve and beautify Downtown Perry Hall is planned for 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 in the library of Perry Hall Elementary School, County Councilman David Marks announced Thursday. If the school is closed due to inclement weather, the meeting will be postponed. 

Marks created a Downtown Perry Hall Beautification Committee earlier this month to focus on the area surrounding Belair, Ebenezer and Joppa roads. Anyone interested in participating in the committee may attend the meeting, email Marks' office at dmarks@baltimorecountymd.gov or call 410-887-3384. The Downtown Perry Hall Facebook page will also provide updates.

"We should have more landscaping, trees and community landmarks in Downtown Perry Hall, and as the holidays draw nearer, a display that showcases Perry Hall's spirit, just like Towson and Parkville have decorations," Marks stated in a release. "For anyone who wants a more attractive Downtown Perry Hall, this is a great opportunity to get involved." 

The Perry Hall Improvement Association, the Perry Hall/White Marsh Business Association and business owners are expected to join in the effort, Marks said.  

The committee will focus on an area including Perry Hall's commercial revitalization district, a zone designated by Marks and other public officials for economic assistance. Approved in May 2011, businesses in the zone are eligible for special financing, free design services and other forms of county assistance.

Since August 2012, new structures in the zone are also subject to the Baltimore County Design Review Panel, which includes architects and engineers. 

What changes would you like to see in Perry Hall's appearance? Share your suggestions in the comments.

David Marks January 25, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Other Tim, it is the area designated as a commercial revitalization district in 2011. I sponsored this legislation to give businesses owners incentives to improve their properties. The area is more or less centered at the intersection of Belair, Ebenezer, and Joppa Roads. http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/planning/commrevitalization/index.html
BmoreBobRob January 25, 2013 at 08:32 PM
I suggest having a spray painted sign at the corner of Bel Air and Joppa that says, "Welcome to Perry Hall."
CAH80 January 29, 2013 at 04:43 PM
We moved to the area from Orlando this past spring and I agree Bel Air needs some work. Coming from an area that has overseen many revitalizing projects, I see many things that are not being address. I'm assuming it's not within budget but worth mentioning. First, the power lines are an eye sore. They need to be buried. You would be surprised how something like this can change an area. Secondly, new street lights would add a classy feel to the area. I have seen many "dumpy" areas in Orlando add antique lighting fixtures and it's quite the transformation. The lighting is perfectly fine on Bel Air, so this is obviously just a suggestion to add to the beautification process if there is a budget. Lastly, add updated traffic light poles to intersections. These would replace the eye sore power lines running across the streets. As others have said, trees need to be planted. They really do add a nice touch to the area and are very important for the environment. Anyways, some ideas from someone with an outside perspective. Probably out of budget but I hope I helped give some ideas. We love the area and the people. Wouldn't mind volunteering either!
John Doe January 29, 2013 at 04:56 PM
CAH80 - I agree with you 100%. I am not from the area and have seen projects done like you have mentioned. It is a hard sell to some people who have always lived here. The Ebenezer Road shopping center is a gold mine that just sits untouched. The intersection Councilman Marks refers to could make this area great.
CAH80 January 29, 2013 at 08:08 PM
It's a shame some people are not open to change. I think it would add a nice touch to the area. Perry Hall has a lot of charm and beauty and it would enhance it nicely. It fits in well with the small town feel the area is all about. Ironic, I was just pointing out the shopping center on Ebenezer to my husband and mentioning the same thing.

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