Looking back at the old year and ahead to the new
Well, here we are — the last issue of the year.
In this, the hazy, unfocused period known as the week between Christmas and New Years, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the some of the biggest stories of the year, and ahead to 2019.
This year, 2018, was dominated, of course, by elections.
From the primary in June to last month’s general, election season lasted the entire year and saw us elect a new county executive and school board member as well as reelecting our county, state and federal legislators for another term.
Baltimore County saw three executives in 2018 — Don Mohler stepped in to fill the shoes of former executive Kevin Kamenetz, whose May death was one of the year’s most shocking stories. Dundalk native John Olszewski Jr. was sworn in to office earlier this month.
Tradepoint Atlantic’s redevelopment of the former steel mill site also dominated headlines this year — from the relocation of a steelworker food bank to the site in March to to the relocation of the Trotten family graves in May. The year also saw several open house events, debates over dredging off the peninsula, TPA’s purchase of the adjacent Sparrows Point Shipyard, a celebration of the Tin Mill Canal cleanup and the consideration of a possible TIF for public infrastructure development at the site. As the year ends, 2019 promises to bring more big changes to the site — from more tenants to progress on the cleanup of the site and continuing work on infrastructure on the parcel.
Business development was also a key story in 2018, with the redevelopment of the Dundalk Plaza shopping center on Merritt Boulevard and the addition of several businesses, including a relocated Aldi and an incoming Five Guys restaurant. The Poplar Inn finally reopened after extensive renovations and the Merritt Station apartments opened its doors. Meanwhile, Logan Village fixture Geresbeck’s (formerly Box N’ Save) closed its doors in June after 20 years.
There was no shortage of ink spilled about education issues in 2018, with the indictment, trial, sentencing and incarceration of former Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance occurring within the year.
His replacement — interim Superintendent Verletta White — faced a rocky road as the school board attempted to make her the permanent replacement, only to be turned down by the state superintendent.
Controversy embroiled the school system on several fronts this year, from outrage over the handling of finances and disclosure to anger at overcrowding in local schools.
But there was some good news as Dundalk, Colgate and Berkshire are all on track to get new schools in the next several years.
There were a number of prominent deaths this year — from the aforementioned death of the county executive in May to the passing of Sister Mary Lambert Rossi in June. Other notable passings this year included local athletic booster Bob Berkshire and Boulevard Diner owner Sam Tsakiris in July, Avenue News contributor/community advocate Anna Renault in August and community activist Lou Grumbach in October.
The year was a time for celebrations as well. March brought the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, while April and May were a time for awards across the area. The Dundalk Chamber of Commerce honored excellence in teaching, while the DRC recognized community volunteers with their Milestone Awards. In May, Shirley Gregory and Emory Williams were honored by the Optimist Club of Dundalk as Citizen and Humanitarian of the Year, respectively. Summer brought the annual Fourth of July extravaganza and Concerts in the Park. The North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Department Firemen’s Parade/Carnival wrapped up the season in August.
Fall was also a busy season for celebrations in Dundalk, with Defenders Day in September, the Haunted Dungeons at Fort Howard in October and Makers Market street fairs concluding in October.
As the year ended, community members braved wet weather for the DRC’s Holiday Hoopla, as well as visits to beloved local train gardens at the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society and the Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company. As for what’s ahead? The year 2019 promises to be an exciting one for Dundalk, with a new homegrown county executive, a fresh General Assembly session starting next month and the opening of a new Dundalk Elementary in August 2019.
Tradepoint, having secured funding for infrastructure improvements from the county earlier this month, is poised to continue growing.
What else will the new year bring to our community, poised now at a crossroads in its history?
Only time will tell.
Opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not represent the opinion of The Dundalk Eagle or Adams Publishing Group.
John Olszewski Jr. addresses his supporters gathered in a ballroom of the Towson Sheraton Hotel after he was declared winner of the race for Baltimore County Executive.
A young citizen saluted the Dundalk American Legion Post 38 Honor Guard as they made their way through the Dundalk St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17.
This year’s WAVFC Christmas Train Garden.