Thousands of people travel down Ritchie Highway through Arnold each day. But where does it begin and end?
There's a little green sign on the side of the highway as you exit Severna Park. You have to look pretty hard, but it's there. That's Arnold.
Elizabeth Rosborg is the newest president of the (APC). She said she recognizes that Arnold is facing an identity crisis and that one of her main goals is to make Arnold feel more distinct.
“We don’t even have a sign,” Rosborg said. “Well, there’s a small green sign on the side of the state highway. But that's all. And we hope to change that.”
Arnold can't be called a town. It’s a community of neighborhoods. That multiplicity is part of what makes Arnold special, Rosborg said. But giving those neighborhoods a place to congregate is still a hurdle for the area.
“Part of our identity crisis is that we don’t even have a place to meet or congregate. There is no community center,” she said. “There’s a lot of history around us, but nothing linking us all together.”
The was once the community center. But for decades, there has been no one place for residents to gather for events.
The APC doesn’t even have a headquarters. They meet at various buildings in town. The January meeting was at the , and March’s meeting meeting will be at the fire department.
One of the group’s long-term goals is to bring the various neighborhoods together to collectively chart a plan for the future. Part of their intent is to preserve Arnold’s integrity, but it’s also to develop and promote local businesses, Rosborg said.
“A lot of our residents commute. But we want them to come back to support our schools and businesses,” she said. “There’s no need to drive to the Annapolis mall or into Severna Park. If more people shopped locally, I think that would make a big difference around here.”
When I asked Rosborg what her vision of Arnold was—what she saw when she closed her eyes and thought of the area—she said it was the Baltimore-Annapolis railroad that once spanned the peninsula. The old railway has since been converted to the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail. Rosborg's family owns property along the trail, and it’s become very important to her over the years, she said.
The APC’s historian Alberta Stornetta has written an essay on the saga of the railroad and its conversion to a trail in the 1980s.
The APC meets monthly at varying locations around Arnold to discuss ongoing issues in town and develop a plan to establish an identity for the area. For more information, visit their website.