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What is the OCA all about?
Members of the Overlea Community Association work hard to make our neighborhood an even better place to live. In addition to organizing the Overlea Farmers Market (now in its seventh season with grant funding from Baltimore County), the fabulous annual Overlea ArtsFest, and our sparkling Holiday Tree Lighting, the OCA is proud to share some additional recent highlights. OCA board members worked closely with Baltimore County throughout the Belair Road watermain replacement project to ensure that roads were repaired and safety concerns were addressed during the project, and followed up with officials to see that the roads were repaved.
The OCA is closely tracking developments around the proposed 7-11 project at Belair and Fullerton. Board members met with the developers to express serious concerns about the project, testified against the developer’s requested variances at the zoning hearing, and is working with community members to keep residents up to date and share information about ways to voice opinions on this proposal. Tireless advocacy and partnership with Councilwoman Cathy Bevins resulted in new curbs and ADA compliant ramps on Highview Avenue. Repeated calls to Code Enforcement resulted in the removal of the unauthorized food trailers that were operating out of the parking lot of The Overlea event center.
Working with NeighborSpace Baltimore County, the OCA helped establish and obtain grant funding for Overlea’s first and only (so far!) pocket park, Cherry Heights Woodland Garden, at East Elm and Beech Avenues. Volunteers cleared the space and filled the park with native plants.
The OCA organizes community compost collection in connection with the Overlea Farmers Market and, in the off season, volunteers collect and deliver the scraps to a local farm. OCA volunteers also help staff the Fullerton Fireworks July 4 celebration each year, and an OCA board member sits on the Baltimore County Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathways Committee.
In the greenspace at Northern Parkway and Walther, OCA volunteers planted dozens of native trees, and when a BGE project took them out, the OCA contacted those responsible, informed local officials, and ensured that BGE replaced the trees and repaired the site properly— including sidewalks, a retaining wall, and additional native plants. Along Northern Parkway between Belair and Walther, where numerous dangerous traffic accidents occurred due to speeding (especially during icy seasons) the OCA advocated for years with city government and elected officials—and ultimately traffic calming measures were put in place. This stretch of road is now a single lane of traffic, making it much safer for residents, pedestrians, and drivers. Related, the OCA obtained grant funding to place large flowerpots along this road that will beautify it and further increase the safety of crosswalks.
The OCA partnered with graduate students at the Johns Hopkins University to complete their qualitative research practicum—which included a study of the Overlea Farmers Market. Results of this study have helped the volunteers who run it improve the market and build toward its sustainable future.
Pending federal funding, OCA advocacy has brought pledges from Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski for $7 million in county funds dedicated to desperately needed updates on Belair Rd. Similarly, the OCA worked with Councilwoman Bevins and Mr. Olszewski to secure pledges for $1 million for the Natural History Society of Maryland and $3 million for updates to Holt Park. Stay tuned for updates on these efforts!
Have a project you’d like to make happen? Come to the next board meeting—for details, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a note via Facebook Messenger to @OverleaRocks. Support these efforts and more by becoming an OCA member! Visit our Get Involved page to pay securely via PayPal.