The City of Laurel will soon have a "much needed" local bus system. It will be organized this summer and launched in the fall by the Corridor Transportation Corporation, a group of business people from the Laurel-based Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber.

"This was a private sector initiative," said G. Mitchell Julian, secretary and treasurer of the corporation and president of the Corrider Chamber, previously called the Laurel area Chamber of Commerce. "A bus system was much needed, so we created a nonprofit organization that would seek to raise the funds and also see about other operating procedures."

Julian said the corporation members will work with the federal, state and city governments in putting together the system. He said they have applied for a federal grant of $450,000 that will be paid over a three-year period for new buses. The state will supply a matching grant of 25 percent or $125,000.

The corporation's 15-member board will raise the money necessary to operate the system through private donations, Julian said. "We've already received $100,000 in pledges and we're shooting for another $200,000."

Julian estimates the total operating cost to be $350,000 a year. He said the corporation hopes to make decisions on bus routes and fares by the fall.

In other news, a new Laurel recreation area, complete with picnic pavilions, grills and paddle boats, was opened to the public for the first time last week in the heart of the Laurel Lakes community.

The area surrounds a 13-acre lake that was recently expanded to accommodate water drainage and a five-acre lake that was created from a much smaller creek.

"The water is of very good quality," said Bonnie Wilkinson, deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department. "The water is very pretty. . . it's a really nice facility." Wilkinson said the finishing touch for the lakes is a floating dock installed before the park's opening.

Both lakes are accessible via paths. The area is open to boaters and picnickers weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until June 19. The weekday hours then will change to 1 to 7 p.m. until Labor Day, when the area will be closed to the public.


The Morningside Teen Center will have new summer hours at its Skyline and Morningside playgrounds beginning June 29.

Hours for the two summer playgrounds, which will be supervised and free to the public, will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Aug. 7. There also will be entertainment and organized activities for the community's youth during the six weeks, including an appearance by Spencer Johnson of the Harlem Globetrotters as well as teen trips, weekly swimming and basketball. The teen center is located in Foulois Middle School, 4601 Beauford Rd., Suitland. For information, call Ernest Johnson at the teen center at 292-9006.