The Anne Arundel County Council unanimously voted Monday to secure a construction loan that allows development to begin for a brand new community center on the Selby peninsula.
In 2007, the previous community center was destroyed in a fire, leaving a large hole in the lives of local residents and children who enjoyed its facilities for decades. Its history went as far back as World War II, when local teens enjoyed sock hops and Boy Scout events inside the center.
By voting in favor of the community center on Monday, the County Council gave developers the green light to start constructing a new building at the same location where the previous structure once stood.
Ever since the building burned down, community leaders have been working to construct a replacement but costly building designs and other obstacles got in the way. Community center advocate and local leader Michelle Corkadel worked closely with officials, and said the vote to secure funding couldn’t have a come a moment later.
Due to the land’s “non-conforming status” on an open-space zone, the opportunity to secure a loan and develop the land expired at the end of the year, said County Councilman Jerry Walker (R-7th District).
“If they didn’t pass it prior to the end of December, it would prevent the clubhouse from being built in the future,” Walker said. “Legislation took so long to introduce because over the past years, they’ve had several different plans—some of the prices were too much.”
Now that funding has been secured, Corkadel said developers are going to make the new center greener and more energy efficient. As the complex is completed, Corkadel said the 750 households in the Selby Community Association will seek tremendous benefits as families are brought together.
“Since its absence in 2007, we had had less participation and volunteers in the community. Our teenagers really don’t have a place to hang out in, so we’re looking forward to restoring that public safety component it provides as well as that opportunity for everybody to get together,” Corkadel said.
As the County Council prepared to vote for or against the center, Walker said they had several concerns about a potential raise in annual fees for Selby families. However, thanks to collaboration with developers, the county and the community, local residents will not have to pay a single additional dollar for the center and its construction.
Households in the Selby Community Association pay an annual fee of $90—a number that won’t be increasing, Corkadel said.
“We made sure that we don’t have to raise our special tax district tax. It was important to ensure that at least for the first 10 years, we would not have to look at tax increases,” Corkadel said. “Of course, if the community wants to build new fishing piers, obviously they would have the choice by vote, but we made sure we were not obliging anyone by any more than we have already obliged them to.”
Once it was clear no tax increases were coming due to the center’s construction, opposition diminished among the Selby community, Walker said.
Gardener and Gardener will serve as the primary contractor for the project, as they work alongside Bay Engineering as the civil engineers and Reiche Construction as the architect of record, Corkadel said.
“The collaborative efforts by not just the contractors, but also very patient county staff members during permitting, was very encouraging,” Corkadel said. “Selby residents can feel confident they are going to have a community center to be proud of.”