GBACA celebrates third anniversary
Apr. 10, 2003
Scott M. Lowe Jr.
Staff Writer

The Greater Baden Aquasco Citizen's Association is spending the month of April marking the third anniversary of its inception.

The South County community group originally banded together in March 2000 to fight a proposed land fill, which is currently in the court of appeals.

"The rubble fill was our main thrust at the time," said GBACA Vice President Virginia Stallings. "There are other things in the community that we're trying to work on. We'll always have something to be concerned about."

Stallings, who helped form the group and served as its first president, added that current concerns include getting rail crossings repaired and a group of proposed subdivisions.

With the rubble fill case in appeals, she said it's now out of GBACA's hands.

Tom Claggett, who's on the board of directors, has also been with the group since the beginning. He feels pride with all that the small group of residents has been able to accomplish.

"These people around here raised $120,000 to fight the fill, which is amazing. I've never seen anything like that before," he said.

Claggett, who moved to the area four years ago from Upper Marlboro, said the group's common goals have strengthened the bonds of friendship.

"I'm very proud to be a part of it," he said. "No question it's brought the community closer together."

M.H. Jim Estepp, a former county councilman for District 9, has worked with GBACA closely in the past when the rubble fill case came before the County Council.

"It was one of the most effective groups I ever worked with," he said.

He added that most people don't understand that in zoning cases, you can't just voice concerns. He said a strict legal process must be followed if any actions are to be made, and Estepp said he was very impressed with them.

"They mastered the system, got the community involved, raised funds and got experts involved," he said. "They spoke on facts, not just emotion."

Estepp added that many communities lose their cases because they don't go through that kind of trouble.

But going the extra mile is what GBACA is about.

"Prince George's County would be better off if we had more organizations like them," Estepp said.

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