by James Rada, Jr.
Public Hearing on Master Plan Update
The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the draft update of the Thurmont Master Plan on December 2 at the town office. The purpose of the hearing is for the planning and zoning commission to receive comments on the proposed update that the members will consider before approving an update and submitting it to the Mayor and Board of Town Commissioners for adoption.
New Commission Members Sworn In
Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird swore in Viktor Kraenbring and Frankie Thorton to the Thurmont Police Commission to serve three-year terms. Kinnaird also swore in Kraenbring to serve a five-year term on the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission.
CDBG Project for Medical Center
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved submitting a project for the Catoctin Medical Center for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. If approved by the state, the grant would fund the replacement of the rear entrance ramp and the installation of a new ADA-compliant ramp for the front entrance of the center. These ramps would benefit about 70 percent of the visitors to the center and cost around $151,425. The grant is a pass-through grant and does not cost the town anything.
Regular Office Hours Resumed
The Town of Emmitsburg has resumed its regular office hours, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Appointments are required to meet with staff members, and face masks are required for anyone visiting the office. Water and sewer bills and other documents for staff can still be placed in the black drop box.
Board Designates American Rescue Plan Funds
The Town of Emmitsburg is expected to receive $3.1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. The town received the first installment of these funds in July, and the second payment will be received within the next year. The funds can only be used for certain projects, including water and sewer infrastructure projects.
The Emmitsburg Commissioners unanimously voted to use the first installment funds of $1.57 million to help pay for the town’s new water clarifier and pump station projects. The money will be used to cover shortfalls in both projects.
The cost of the pump station is currently estimated at $3.7 million. The new station will replace the existing pump station on the west side of Creamery Road. The water clarifier to help the water treatment plant is estimated to cost $2.36 million.
Wipes Clogging Pumping Station
Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the town sewer system is having problems because of flushable wipes and sanitizing wipes clogging the wet well at the pumping station. If this problem continues, it could lead to expensive repairs at the pumping station.
Ground Broken for New Health Center
Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s University broke ground on October 15 for a new healthcare facility in Emmitsburg. The center will treat Mount students and staff and local residents with prevention and other wellness services. The center is expected to open in June 2022. The project began with a partnership between Frederick Health and Mount St. Mary’s in 2018. The university donated the land for the project, while Frederick Health will operate the building. The center will also serve as the university’s student health center.
Commissioners Sworn In and Board Reorganized
Re-elected Town Commissioners Tim O’Donnell and Clifford Sweeney were sworn in to office during the October town meeting.
Mayor Don Briggs also recommended the following board positions for commissioners: Tim O’Donnell—President, Cliff Sweeney—Vice President and Citizens Advisory Committee Liaison, T.J. Burns—Treasurer, Joe Ritz III—Planning Commissioner Liaison, and Frank Davis—Parks and Recreation Committee Liaison. The commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation.
Deputies Trying to Address Mount Student Problems
Frederick County Deputy Jason Ahalt told the Emmitsburg Town Commissioners that there has been a definite “uptick” in problems with Mount students, primarily student athletes, who are living in town. The problems tend to come from the parties in homes after athletic events. Ahalt said the problems are being addressed, but the commissioners are trying to find more effective means of dealing with the problems.