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Westminster approves bid construction for fiber network, celebrates holiday winners

The Westminster Common Council and the mayor met Monday evening to discuss the next steps in the city’s fiber network project, and to award the winners of the Miracle on Main Street parade and storefront and window holiday decorating contest.

Council members voted unanimously to approve bid construction for the next two phases of the Westminster fiber network. The council previously authorized staff to proceed with construction on Aug. 28.

Phase 3 is the area generally bounded by Md. 31 south to Bishop Street, the eastern and western city limits north of Md. 27, and from Main Street to Md. 140 south of Md. 27. Phase 4 is comprised of TownMall of Westminster and parts of N. Center Street and Cranberry Road. South of Md. 27, it follows the west boundary of the city to the area of Malcolm Drive and Market Street, according to the council packet for the meeting.

The only bid for the project was Southern Maryland Cable Inc., the company that constructed the previous phases.

Director of Public Works Jeff Glass said the bid came to $4,158,479.95 for both phases.

Council President Robert Wack said the entire project has come in well under the conservative initial estimate and that the timeline was on schedule for the three- to five-year initial plan for the project.

Local business owners and parade participants filled the hall at the beginning of the meeting for the awards from the Miracle on Main Street event.

Mayor Joe Dominick announced four winners in three categories for the parade: Spirit of the Season, White Pine Paving Company; Best and Brightest, Carroll County Veterinary Clinic and the 4-H Rabbit and Cavy Club; and Main Street Champion, Home Depot.

Judges chose winners based on theme, detail and brightness, Dominick said. Each won a trophy and $100 in prize money.

The winners in the storefront and window decorating contest kept in mind this year’s theme, “Snow in Love with Main Street.”

Brook-Owen Real Estate took home the prize for best use of recycled material, making use of cellphone parts; Sterling Quality Water was awarded best business promotion for their wreaths made from lights and recycled water bottles; Flowers by Evelyn’s scene with Santa, elves and snowmen was deemed best kid-friendly design; and The Spa on West Main produced the best traditional design.

Dominick then awarded the Mayor’s Cup to RockSalt Grille for their “beautiful design inside and out.”

He thanked the 14 businesses that participated this year.

“You could tell there was a little extra spirit this year,” he said. “If you drove down Main Street, it was tough not to notice the effort people put into this.”

In other council news, Councilman Benjamin Yingling summarized a recent meeting between himself, Dominick and Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles.

Yingling said the meeting was “incredibly productive” and a chance to begin a conversation about the city’s water concerns with the state administration. The discussion centered on long-term projects related to water re-use, which are large projects that may be implemented in the next 25 to 30 years.

In the short term, the city will be meeting with the owners of Medford Quarry on Tuesday, Dec. 19, to further discuss its use as a potential water source to increase the city’s allocation ability.

“We all know that water is the blood to the city,” Yingling said. “Without it, we’re limited.”

Council President Robert Wack then addressed rumors that Main Street would be converted to one-way traffic to allow for a bike lane. He said there were no plans to do so, but bike and pedestrian concerns were important.

During public comment, Susan Nardyz, who runs RockSalt Grille, asked what could be done so downtown restaurants could get valet parking. She said RockSalt frequently has visitors from out of town who are not familiar with parking in the city.

City Administrator Barbara Matthews said the city’s main concern was reserving public space for a private use. The proposed idea would mean businesses that wanted to offer valet parking would need to reserve parking spaces on Main Street. Nardyz said her business would request the use of two spaces from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The two entities agreed further discussion was needed on the subject.

crighter@baltsun.com

410-857-3315

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