Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

South Branch Park master plan unveiled on Monday

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Sykesville now has the beginnings of a plan to renovate South Branch Park.

Land developer Sean Davis of Morris and Ritchie Associates unveiled at the Monday mayor and Town Council meeting a proposed master plan for the park, which is located in the unincorporated side of Sykesville in Howard County.

Sykesville and Howard County are partnering to redevelop the park for recreational and restricted commercial use through a 35-year lease.

Davis outlined which projects should be done in five phases, as well as why certain features should be grouped together.

The first phase would have the former fruit-canning warehouse renovated and the patio area connected to it, upgrade the bridge across the Patapsco River, construct walking trails, and renovate a 70-foot by 150-foot foundation for a multi-purpose court.

Davis scrapped plans for a town pool on an approximate half-acre parcel at River and West Friendship roads because the property was not included in the lease, and there were concerns that the property includes wetlands and would be a bad location for pedestrians.

However, Davis added a water park on the northeast side of the property, near a proposed tot lot. The park would be a concrete foundation with water jets, he said.

Davis was unable to provide a cost for the plan due to a prior commitment with another client. He expects to have costs available at the Feb. 25 Town Council meeting at the Town House, 7547 Main St., Sykesville. Mayor Jonathan Herman also announced the town applied for a $125,000 bond bill to use for the park.

Town to start fresh with economic committee

Sykesville officials plan to repeal an ordinance that created an Economic Development Commission so that a new committee can begin anew.

Town Manager Matt Candland said the town found that a 1998 ordinance that created the commission was never repealed. However, it is not incorporated into town code, he said at Monday night’s mayor and Town Council meeting.

Councilman Leo Keenan is forming an Economic Development Committee, and the town tried to figure out whether it should create a new framework for the committee or base it on prior committees or commissions.

The economic commission no longer meets.

The ordinance grants the commission power to make and sign contracts and buy real estate.

‘‘It’s not going to be applicable for what we’re doing,” Keenan said.

The committee would aim to revitalize downtown and bring more businesses to Main Street.

The repeal process will begin at the Feb. 11 Town Council meeting, Candland said.

Resumes and letters of interests for the committee will be accepted until Feb. 29. The letters and resumes can be sent to Candland at the Town House, 7547 Main St., Sykesville.

The committee is open to business owners, town residents and non-residents.

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