Community park is Clear Spring councilman's new dream

September 10, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring Councilman Bill Albowicz's dream is posted to a wall in his Clear Spring liquor store - plans for a new town park.

"This has been our dream for years. I'd love to see that park here for the people," said Albowicz, 59. "That's my main reason for staying in government now."

Albowicz and his wife, Clear Spring Vice Mayor Julie Albowicz, have championed the community park idea. The couple recently formed a town park committee to bring the concept to fruition, Bill Albowicz said.


He said he hopes the more than 18 acres bordered by Broadfording Road, Mill Street and Martin Street will one day hold a band shell, flower gardens, gazebo, footpath and bird sanctuary.

"There won't be any sports in this park. It will be a people park - a place where people can walk and listen to music and push their grandchildren around in strollers," Albowicz said.

Several county commissioners in March said county funding for the project might be available next year.

Albowicz's biggest task now is to convince property owner Donald Bragunier to part with the land.

Albowicz is the right man for the challenge, Clear Spring Mayor Paul Hose Jr. said.

"When Bill goes after something he usually gets it done," Hose said. "He just has that kind of personality."

Albowicz, who said he's learned not to quit or throw "temper tantrums" when things don't go his way, was inducted into the Maryland Municipal League Hall of Fame in August for his more than 20 years of service to the town.

Maryland House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany, presented Albowicz with a House of Delegates proclamation in honor of the councilman's 26 years of service as a mayor and council member in Clear Spring.

Hose also presented Albowicz with a town proclamation during the August meeting of the mayor and council.

Albowicz joined the council in the early 1970s, in part, he said, because there was a shortage of town residents willing to participate in town government.

"It was the same problem we have now," he said.

Albowicz saw his role as councilman as an opportunity to make life a little better for his fellow citizens, he said.

"That's the only reason for serving - to help the people," he said. "I know it sounds corny but it's true."

Albowicz also realized that Clear Spring needed to change with the times. He liked and respected past town leaders, he said, but felt that weren't always acting in the best interests of the community.

There was a tendency to ignore correspondence. The town's streets, sidewalks and water lines were in a state of disrepair. And Clear Spring's finances were "a mess" that town leaders kept under wraps, Albowicz said.

"At one time, the town was heading toward fiscal hell," he said. "We learn from the mistakes of our predecessors."

Albowicz, who served two terms as mayor, was never shy to voice his opinions in town meetings, he said. He worked with council members to straighten out the streets department, fix the finances and systematically upgrade the town's water system.

The town is now run like a business, its accounting books open for anyone to see, Albowicz said.

"There are no secrets here," he said.

Albowicz calls the upgraded water system the "tightest in the state for our size." And the water and sewer departments now share a more collaborative relationship than in years past, he said.

When his wife took over as Clear Spring's sewer commissioner - dedicated to overhauling that system - the couple cross-trained each other so they fill in for each other when needed, Albowicz said.

He was instrumental in bringing the county park to Clear Spring, and in getting rid of the town's parking meters. Despite the negative impact on his business, Albowicz pushed for the abolishment of the meters because he felt the move would best benefit town residents, he said.

"The parking meters are rusting down in the basement where they belong," he said.

Albowicz can't take sole credit for these and other accomplishments during his time in town government, he said. Hose and members of the current Town Council have been fair, honest and competent in making decisions that benefit their community, he said.

"This is the best mayor and council I've served with," Albowicz said.

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