"Why don't you do a story on things that matter like the lack of effort from local small business to make downtown a clean area that makes people want to visit here?," an Arbutus Patch reader wrote on our Facebook wall in response to a story about volunteers painting over graffiti in the stairwells of a sealed pedestrian tunnel in Lansdowne.
Downtown looks like a dump. Between the fence in the parking lot next to Highs (Pantry One) all the trash in the parking lots. The rat epidemic if you live near downtown. Arbutus is doomed. It's turning into a suburban inner Baltimore city. Paint all the tunnels you want it's still a **** hole and going south fast!
Maybe I'm biased because as the Arbutus Patch editor I have a bird's eye view of the good and the bad that happens in this area. Or perhaps I'm biased because this is my neighborhood, too.
According to Precinct 1/Wilkens commander Capt. John Spiroff, the incidence of crime in this area is lower than other sections of Baltimore County, and rates in most categories of crime are decreasing year after year.
Are there problems? Of course there are. Our corner of Baltimore County experiences many of the same conditions that affect other communities. No neighborhood, rich or poor, is immune from crime.
I also know that there are numerous civic groups with people who are dedicated to enhancing and improving the community--Arbutus Business and Professional Association, Arbutus Improvement Association, Halethorpe Improvement Association, Relay Improvement Association and Lansdowne Improvement Association among them.
These people are doing things like scrubbing graffiti, cutting back overgrown vegetation, cleaning stream beds and waterways, clearing walking trails, landscaping public areas, installing welcoming signs and benches and a variety of other projects.
Lansdowne Improvement Association is spearheading a cleanup of Hillcrest Park on June 2, if you're curious what an involved community looks like. Or, if you want to help.
Maybe I'm biased because in the 30 years I've lived here and sent my kids to local schools, I've decided that Arbutus is still the best place to live in Baltimore County.
Or maybe I've just become a victim of lowered expectations, immune to the signs of decay around me. Am I really living in a **** hole?
What do you think? Is Arbutus going down the tubes, or getting better?