by James Rada, Jr.
Public Hearing On Parks Requirement in Subdivisions This Month
The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners will hold a public hearing during their January 4 meeting regarding changes to the town’s parks, recreation, and open-space requirement. The goal of the amendment is to make sure all residents have equal access to parks near where they live. Town Planner Zach Gulden said the rule of thumb from the county and state is that residents should be within half a mile from a park, so it is easy to walk to. All areas of town except for Pembrook, portions of Brookfield, and the section of town northeast of the U.S. 15/MD 140 intersection meet this goal. The amendment also seeks to balance when parks should be private versus public. The goal is not to place a burden to maintain a private park on a homeowner’s association when the park gets heavy usage from areas outside of the development.
Commissioners Approve CDBG Application
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a Community Development Block Grant application for $697,953.50 to replace 117 curb ramps at various locations throughout the Town of Emmitsburg for ADA compliance. Many of the older curb ramps are cracking and not ADA compliant, which raises liability issues to the town. The goal is to have the new ramps installed by April 2022.
New Salary Chart Approved
The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a new salary chart for the town based on an employee compensation analysis done earlier in 2020. The new chart moves from pay grades with step increases to pay grades with salary ranges. Employees will also now be assessed on a scale with a maximum score of 45. Employees receiving a score of 27 and above will receive a step increase annually if the funds are available.
Town to Review Water Restrictions
Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the town commissioners that they would review the current phase 2 waters restriction after the holidays to see if adjustments needed to be made. She said during the December town meeting that Rainbow Lake was 2.8 feet below the spillway.
Regional Park Coming to Northern Frederick County
Mount St. Mary’s University sold more than 100 acres along Motters Station Road to Frederick County to be developed into a regional park. The park will have ball fields, night lighting, walking trails, tennis courts, and more. The goal is to eventually tie the park into the Mount’s sidewalk system, which would increase park usage.
The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners appointed Stephen Starliper as an alternate member of the Board of Appeals from December 7, 2020, to December 7, 2023. They also reappointed Conrad Weaver, Tricia Sheppard, and Will Sheppard to the Citizens Advisory Committee from July 15, 2019, to July 15, 2021. Jennifer Joy and Mark Walker were reappointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee to serve from November 7, 2020, to November 7, 2022.
Town Wins Municipal Impact Award
During a recent Thurmont town meeting, Jodie Bollinger with the Frederick County Office of Economic Development, presented the town with a Frederick County Municipal Impact Award for Business Retention and Expansion. It is one of four Municipal Impact Awards the county presented this year. She said it was given for the town’s efforts to do everything it possibly can to support business in Thurmont. Mayor John Kinnaird said, “Main Street has been a real godsend to the Town of Thurmont, with grants we get, the opportunities, and the doors that have been opened with our Main Street designation.”
He also thanked Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder for her tenacity, spirit, hard work, and dedication for the town.
“It’s been a wonderful ride and a wonderful journey,” Grinder said.
Town Seeks to Create System for Determining Road Improvements
The Town of Thurmont conducted an initial survey to apply criteria and a scoring system to some of the roads in town to determine which ones are most in need of repair. While a step in the right direction, the new system does not take into account traffic on the roads. It strictly looks at the condition of the roads. So, while Mountain Road is the most in need of repair, it doesn’t have as much traffic as other roads that don’t need as much repair. One road that will definitely be repaved is Apples Church Road, from Main Street to the railroad crossing. This will cost about $70,000. Some roads can be patched to delay repaving until more funds are available.
The commissioners allocated $250,000, which includes Highway User Funds from the state, to be used to start making needed repairs on roads.
Town Considers Naming Bridges for Veterans
At the request of the American Legion, the Town of Thurmont is considering naming two of the town’s bridges for Thurmont Marines killed in action in Vietnam. Sgt. Woodrow Carbaugh was killed in Vietnam in 1968, and PFC Charles Pittinger was killed in 1969. Both of them were Thurmont High School graduates. The two bridges being considered are the Frederick Road bridge near Community Park and the Moser Road bridge near the library. The commissioners plan to discuss this further, but first they asked that the American Legion develop a set of criteria for how it determines which Veterans to consider naming bridges or stretches of road for and which Veterans should be considered for roads and bridges in the town.
Town Receives a Clean Audit
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners recently received the results of the annual review done of its finances by an independent auditor.
Town Issues Arbor Day Proclamation
The Town of Thurmont issued a proclamation recognizing Arbor Day. Thurmont has been a Tree City USA for four years. A group of town volunteers recently planted 20 new trees in Eyler Road Park, which brings the total of new trees planted in town over the past few years close to 500, according to Mayor John Kinnaird. “That is unbelievable, and this was, of course, sparked by our fear of losing so many trees at Community Park due to the Emerald Ash Borer,” he said.
Playgrounds to be Improved
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a $40,000 to have Playground Specialists install new playground equipment in the Woodland Park Playground. Program Open Space fund will pay $30,000 of the bid, and the town will pay $10,000.
Playground Specialists was also awarded a bid for $13,726 to upgrade the equipment at the Ice Plant Park Playground. Program Open Space will also pay for 75 percent of the bid.