Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Upper Marlboro to clean up neglected facility

Public works vehicles now stored outside would be moved to the refurbished building

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Upper Marlboro officials have decided to revitalize the dilapidated public works facility on Judges Drive that had been neglected by previous commissioners.

The goal is to get the facility into working order so it can be used as the primary public works facility, the board of commissioners said at Tuesday night’s work session. The town’s trucks and heavy equipment have been stored at a State Highway Administration facility outside of town for the past two years.

‘‘I always thought when I was a citizen that we should be using this facility,” said newly elected commissioner Steve Sonnett.

Officials finally were spurred to action when Sonnett and fellow commissioner Joseph Hourclé went to the SHA facility Monday and discovered that some of the town’s equipment, including its trucks and a backhoe, are being stored outside rather than inside a garage.

‘‘If the vehicles are outside, it’s a problem,” commissioner George Leonnig said.

The decades-old public works facility includes three buildings — a small pump house, an office and a two-bay garage — between the volunteer fire station and the county’s day care center. The buildings are surrounded by tall grass, and the grounds are littered with junk — some that the town dumped there and some that was dumped there by others, the commissioners said.

Workers were expected to begin hauling away scrap metal and other trash from the area Wednesday. Officials have not set a timeline for finishing the cleanup and have not yet decided on any steps that would come with a cost, such as fixing a broken bay door and a crack in the main building’s foundation.

E-mail Andy Zieminski at