By Marcia Ames
The leaders' responses ranged from old-fashioned sentiments about helping one another to goals, such as crime prevention and restraining development.
Academy Heights Civic Association President Kathie Bankert said her group's main goal is "to see more residents involved with what goes on within the community rather than outside the community -- locally versus globally."
Her personal goal is to see more people practice recycling.
Banneker Community Development Association President James Pennington said "survival" of his community, including the Winters Lane corridor, was the association's main resolution for 2009.
That agenda calls for a halt to any large-scale development plans for the area, such as what Morning Star Baptist Church has proposed in the 100 block of Winters Lane.
Colonial Gardens Improvement Association President Mary Sites said members "want everybody to feel like this is their hometown," a goal that includes maintaining public safety by sharing information about crime and crime prevention.
"It's nice to be able to go up and down the street and say 'hi' to your neighbors," she said.
Edmondson Heights Civic Association President Herbert Scott intends to "get more unity within the community so we can make it the Edmondson Heights that used to be.
"I can't explain it," he said. "But it was a place you could sit out and just enjoy yourself."
His group also plans to beautify the Edmondson Heights Park and work with the PTA at Edmondson Heights Elementary School to encourage children to use the park and "get off the streets."
Greater Oella Community Association President Jay Patel said he expects "better hope for change that is coming for the whole county and for Oella.
"So far it's looking good, everything is falling together," he said, noting that the community celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2008.
In 2009, residents will continue a landscaping project on the grounds at Westchester Community Center, the former mill town's main gathering hall, at 2414 Westchester Ave.
Holly Manor Improvement Association President Bernina Grady said her group plans to do "the old fashioned thing -- get to know one another again."
She aims to increase member participation and "focus on energizing our community."
Oak Crest Community Association President Susan Koches reported a "large-scale" plan to collaborate with the greater Catonsville community in making the town a "safe and lively and welcoming place to live."
On a smaller scale, her group aims to continue its "good deeds committee" activities geared toward helping neighbors in need within the community.
Also proposed is a community-wide block party, instead of the street-wide events of years past, and a plan for "family-friendly" board meetings, possibly with snacks for the children, so both parents in a family could attend with their children in tow.
Old Catonsville Neighborhood Association President Kirby Spencer said she wants her neighbors to "think ahead" in maintaining the area's trees.
She noted that several trees reached their maturity and died this year and had to be removed.
"We should make an effort to start a comprehensive reforesting program," she said. "We should replant now instead of waiting for trees to be dead."
Westview Park Improvement and Civic Association President Steve Whisler, who also heads the Coalition for the Preservation of Southwest Baltimore County, said the Westview Park group resolves to celebrate its 55th anniversary in 2009 with a community festival.
Also on schedule for the year are projects to replace area street lamps with environmentally friendly versions, replace some lamp posts, increase outreach activities and beautify the area.
Meanwhile, the coalition Whisler leads will increase its outreach to community groups across southwest Baltimore County "to let them know we are out there to help them," he said, noting guidance in grant writing and obtaining government services or philanthropic resources as prime examples.