I am writing in response to the editorial dated 1.15.2014 titled "Details, details."
My opposition to the purchase of the Havre de Grace property is that this entire property, not just "one of the properties" are contaminated. The statement, "contamination concerns seem to have been addressed," is not true. Who will take the contaminated top soil from the 4.585 acres and at what cost? Where will they put it? Who will cover the cost? When you put down two feet of new clean top soil, will the contaminated soil under this new soil leach up into the fresh top soil? The engineers that I have spoken with say that it will contaminate the new top soil over time.
The only reason [Harford County Executive David] Craig did not buy the other four parcels is because he did not have any more money in the fund, or he would have. He controls the votes on the Board of Estimates, which has seven members and he appoints five of the members.
I do not want the taxpayers of our County to pay for the clean-up of contaminated property that belongs to someone else. Why have the current owners not cleaned-up their contamination?
If this had been done, then we would have considered the purchase. This is not fair to the taxpayers, particularly those residing in Havre de Grace, as they will pay twice, once for the purchase of the property and again for the "clean up" of someone else's property.
Also, I am concerned the asking price for these properties for 4.585 acres was overpriced, especially if you compare this to the Joppatowne property of 4.3 acres for $679,500 that is near the water.
I would like to compare the two properties mentioned in the editorial. The first is the property in Havre de Grace which has an asking price of $3.47 million for 4.585 acres, plus clean up. The second property that was mentioned was the Mariner Point Swim Club, located in Joppatowne, with an asking price of $679,500 for 4.53 acres, about the same size as the Havre de Grace property, and the property is not contaminated. This property is not exactly located on the water front, but only a small street, Rivera Drive is between the property and a "clean" water front.
Additionally, the property boasts the following features: it is level with roads on three sides, is currently a recreational facility that contains a swim club, it also has a 3,300-square-foot pool house structure, two Olympic size in-ground swimming pools, landscaping, basketball and volleyball courts and asphalt parking areas. Across from the swim club is the waterfront Marine Max Gunpoint Cove Marina, with hundreds of boats and surrounded by several restaurants. Joppatowne has no Senior Center; no Boys & Girls Club, no teen center and we have no community center. If the county would have moved in a timely manner on the Joppa Town property, we would own it by now. Craig had the opportunity to make the purchase since one of the appraisals on the Joppatowne property was $900,000. Unfortunately, he did not. Instead, he waited too long; making the current owners upset and they signed a contract with another purchaser. Joppa Town lost again.
We are entitled to a facility such as the community center built a couple of years ago in the Fallston area for the cost of about $15 million. Our turn had come, and we passed up a prime piece of land for an asking price far below the market value. I wonder why.
Harford County Councilman Dion F. Guthrie
District A, Abingdon, Edgewood and Joppatowne