we lived in catonsville for 11 months and could not wait to move out. we had hoped to end up in columbia or ellicott city but at the time could not find something we could afford and was the right size and zip code.
everyone assured us that catonsville was a great choice. my mom is in timonium and one of her good friends lives in catonsville. people here said wonderful things about it and that it was a strong family community.
we lived by the walking trail to old ellicott city.
in the 11 months that we lived there, we knew of two people from our playgroup who had their homes broken into in broad daylight, and these homes were even nicer than our own. we knew one mom that was held up at gun point at an ATM in the heart of catonsville, like the NICE part by the library and post office. this was during the day, and she had her three sons with her.
on 4th of july we did do the parade and then watched TWO drug deals go down in front of babies r us and the party store.
after we moved we learned that a prostitution ring was busted up by the walmart and asain market off of 40.
for us, it was TOO urban. we didn't want to live in an area where we had to think about day time break ins, armed robberies and drug deals as well as prostitution.
and we paid a lot for our house and sold it for even more just 11 mo later. so, to pay a lot for an old home that needs work, and then be faced with pretty serious crimes in your "town" didn't seem like a fair deal. we also NEVER shopped anywhere in catonsville, minus the babies r us if we needed something.
we did love old ellicott city though. we'd go down there to shop, eat, and trick or treat. and the tire park was fun. i think if we had moved to somewhere else in maryland we would've stayed, but catonsville was just not our cup of tea.
ETA: our house was about 50 yrs old and already had all new windows and a new kitchen when we bought it. in the 11 mo we lived there, we put another 20,000 into the house. we updated the electric ( which was insanely out date) and then gutted and redid the master bath ( which was original as was the hall bath). on the first floor we redid the half bath, and then in the dining room we pulled down a fake ceiling and had all new lighting and ceiling installed, same with the basement. most catonsville homes need a lot of updating or TLC type stuff. we did find out when we moved that the two fireplaces/ and chimneys BOTH needed to be completely replaced. basically, there was always going to be some sort of project to get the house up to date.