By Judy Tacyn
Kensington is a small and tucked-away community off Benfield Road, and most people don’t even realize it’s there or that it extends all the way behind Brightview Senior Living.
“When I say to people that we’re located behind Safeway, I always get the answer, ‘So, you’re in Chartridge?’” said Ginger Reeves.
No, Kensington is not Chartridge, but it is a combination of waterfront homes, bungalows and older homes that are reasonably priced, especially for families just starting out. More than 100 homes line the Kensington Avenue loop, where homes border Cattail Creek.
With just a single access point, the Kensington neighborhood has a playground and large field, which is a favorite meeting spot for parents and children on beautiful days. Kensington has water privileges off Tower Bank. A dock is maintained by the homeowners association, which has kayak and standup paddleboard racks, and a ramp behind St. Martin’s-in-the-Field that many neighbors use to launch their boats.
While the community holds several events, neighbors unanimously agree that the most popular get-together is the Halloween party and parade. There are also summer picnics, Christmas parties with Santa, Easter egg hunts and visits from the Easter Bunny.
Resident For Six Years
Cristine Milauskas’ family moved to Severna Park from Baltimore City, following several of their Baltimore-based friends who started families and moved to Severna Park.
“My husband and I looked for five months for a house in either Arnold or Severna Park. Having water access was high on our priority list,” Milauskas said. “We placed an offer on our current home the day it came on the market.”
The Milauskas family’s favorite community event is Halloween, when longer-term families set up dinner for the younger families. Most of the community comes for dinner and the Halloween parade.
Milauskas’ children attend Oak Hill Elementary and they love the school and the fact that many of the teachers also live in Severna Park.
“We love that Severna Park has a small-town feel,” Milauskas continued. “Even before we lived here, we would come to Severna Park for Kinder Farm Park. Now that we live here, we have a garden plot at Kinder.”
As for her neighbors, Milauskas could not be happier. “We are in a unique position that some of our neighbors have truly become an extension of our family,” she said. “We share holidays and important milestones with our neighbors, as we would our families.”
Milauskas has served as secretary for one year and HOA president for two years.
Resident For 10 Years
Ginger Reeves arrived in Severna Park via Bowie in 1999. Which community event does her family love? “Halloween for sure! I’ve run this event for 14 years,” Reeves explained. “I buy everything for a cookout at my cul-de-sac, and the kids parade once around the neighborhood in costume [and] then arrive back for food before they go trick-or-treating. Whole extended families participate. I put out a donation can, and the proceeds go back to the community for our other events.”
Reeves has held several board positions, including president and member-at-large. “I like to stay involved in what’s going on and I continue to attend monthly meetings even though I’m not currently serving on the board,” she added.
Jo Ann Stanfill
Resident For 54 Years
Jo Ann Stanfill moved to Severna Park in August 1965. “My husband’s coworker lived in Severna Forest and knew we were looking to buy our first house,” Stanfill said. “On a Saturday morning, his wife watched our three kids while the husband showed us around. They were building new houses in Kensington, so we looked and signed the deal. This is the only house we have ever owned.”
Stanfill appreciated the intimacy of the community; there were only 11 families when she first moved in. Though some have since moved, she said all still friends.
“I have really good neighbors. My next-door neighbor moved in one month after us,” Stanfill said. “One of my best friends lives a block down the street and moved in a little before us. I can count on close neighbors if help is needed.”
Stanfill recalls a fierce snowstorm in January 1966 when the neighbors became family. A child became ill and neighborhood men shoveled the street so the ambulance could get in.
Resident For 41 Years
Marilyn Doyle and her husband were looking for a community with an easy commute to Fort Meade and Sparrows Point in Baltimore. They chose Kensington for its small size and no cut-through traffic. They settled on their home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and moved in on December 10, 1978.
Doyle has come to appreciate the generosity of her neighbors.
“During serious illnesses and deaths, many neighbors have been caring and supportive,” Doyle said. “Also, a few years ago, a family suffered a fire, which required repairs. Some of us donated to their needs and loaned them sleeping bags and blow-up mattresses.”
Doyle has served on the homeowners’ board on several occasions as secretary, vice president and member-at-large. She has also assisted with several Halloween parties and collected dues when needed.