The real impact on Aberdeen from a major Route 22 widening project, announced last week at a public meeting, remains to be seen.
This week, several city officials had muted reactions to a project they see as being completely out of their hands.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is planning to widen parts of Route 22 between I-95 and Route 40. Intersection improvements are planned at Old Post, Paradise and Beards Hill Roads.
The major impact on homeowners will be the razing of 16 houses on Route 22 near the Paradise Road intersection. State officials said they expect to relocate those property owners.
About 59 more property owners also could have parts of their property taken for rights-of-way.
Mayor Mike Bennett and City Manager Doug Miller were both out of town at the Maryland Municipal League convention, when the public meeting on the project was held at Aberdeen High School June 27.
Bennett said Tuesday the city has simply no control over the project.
He said he was aware the road was planned to be widened but did not know the details.
"I don't know what to tell you; I don't know what you want to hear," Bennett said. "This was all planned a long time ago."
The project is being completely handled by the state, he noted.
"I don't know how much we have to say [about] what's going to happen in the state right-of-way," Bennett said. "It's really not our issue."
Other than that, Bennett said he did not have much of a response to the project.
"I really haven't got any feelings for it. It hasn't been on my radar," he said. "If there's anything we can do, then we will look at that."
"I mean, they might come up with a very fair market price for houses and folks might be OK with that," Bennett added.
City Manager Doug Miller likewise did not respond to a request for any reaction, other than to say he just recently learned of the plan.
"The first I personally saw the plans for which houses would be purchased was the day after the hearing at [Aberdeen High School]," Miller wrote in an e-mail.
Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young attended the June 27 meeting, and said she feels sorry for the people affected.
Young, who lives on Doris Circle, is close to the affected intersections.
"I feel very sorry for the folks involved, because I am thinking a lot of them have been there a long time," Young said. "It will be quite an adjustment for them."
She said she did not know what the families on Paradise will decide to do.