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Thurmont news-briefs

Danielle Ryan

(2/24) Bid approval for new Food Bank parking lot

The demolition of the property located on 8 Frederick Road in preparation for the construction of a new Food Bank parking lot was approved and a bid was accepted by the Board of Commissioners.

$50,000 was already set aside for this project, and the Town has already used $1,050 of this total for lead and asbestos analysis of the building on the property. After posting the property, advertising the intended demolition, and receiving no public comment, the project was sent out for bid. Four bids were considered. RL McNair & Son placed a bid in the amount of $33,925, Dirt Express, $42,230, Wastler & Son, 43,014, and WF Delauter & Son, $46,748.

Town staff recommended the Board accept the lowest bid from RL McNaretson, who upon further inquiry received several positive references. The Board unanimously voted to accept the $33,925 bid.

Budget amendments

During the February 7 Town meeting, the Board of Commissioners voted to accept two mid-year budget amendments for the FY17 Budget.

The first amendment was to increase the Streets Capital Expenditures Budget line by $10,500. This money would be taken out of the FY17 General Fund Unrestricted Fund Balance and will be used for the rebuilding of the storm drain boxes on Hammaker Street.

The second amendment was to increase the Police Department Building Repairs and Maintenance line item by $3,832.14 for the building’s HVAC system repair. This was originally supposed to be taken out of the Operating Budget in FY16, but the work didn’t begin until July, so the Town assigned that part of the Unassigned Fund Balance from FY16 in this year’s audit.

Maryland – Midland Railroad Bridge

The Town is considering a rehabilitation project for the Maryland-Midland Railroad Bridge on Church Street. Members of the Town have been talking about making improvements to the bridge for many years, and agreed that it would coincide as part of Main Street improvements. A painted bridge could be a potential attraction to get more people to visit Thurmont.

The bridge, which has been in place since 1936, is in need of some aesthetic improvements. For now, the bridge definitely needs to be painted, and the Mayor hopes that the existing paint can be painted over, as it will be too expensive to sand blast and remove the existing paint before applying new paint.

A committee may be formed by persons interested in thinking of ideas and recommendations for this project. The committee may take public comment and form recommendations to bring to the Board. Some ideas already in mind are "Thurmont" being painted on the bridge, and murals underneath the bridge depicting a trolley station, steam engine and train station, in an "old-timey" style. Mayor Kinnaird has already looked into the potential cost of very basic work to refinish the faces of the abutments prior to painting. The estimated cost is $13,000.

Before a committee can be formed, Town will be reaching out to Genesse Wyoming Inc. for opinions and permission to proceed with the potential project.

Trolley station artwork update

Yemi Fagbohun updated the Board on the trolley station artwork during the February 14 Town meeting. With these murals, he hopes to showcase all that represents Thurmont, and specifically wants to focus this project around Camp David. Yemi noted that every president has spent time in Thurmont, due to its proximity to Camp David, so his idea is to feature every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt through the present time.

Yemi will be reaching out to Catoctin High School art students to help him paint the murals, which gives them the opportunity to gain some professional experience while learning from Yemi himself. This will be a great way to get the students involved.

Commissioners liked the idea of showing the connection between the town and Camp David, because it shows one aspect of Thurmont’s rich history. Yemi noted that he "wants the building to serve as a focal point where people will come and visit and realize how precious Thurmont is." "Thurmont is the most beautiful place I have been to in the United States, and I want to make this a place to visit."

He will be promoting the artwork via radio shows, TV, magazines, newspapers and social media outlets. Frederick Arts Council is the fiscal agency that will be collecting the funds for the project and will assist in planning the event. Yemi is working with some funders for the project, and has already received a few commitments, but will release that information once it is finalized.

The unveiling of the artwork is projected for spring of 2018. More information will follow as it is released.

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