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Town making preparations to sell Dielman Inn

As the one-year deadline approaches for the town of New Windsor to find a buyer for the Dielman Inn, the town has contracted with a real estate agent to assist the sale.

The New Windsor Town Council had voted 3-2 in January 2011 to pursue the Dielman Inn, a historic building at the center of town that became somewhat dilapidated over the years. While the town had no interest in rehabilitating the property with the town's finances, the out-of-town owners had offered the property below market value so that the town could oversee who would eventually purchase the property and have some control over its future use.

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In the motion the council passed to buy the property, it was stipulated that the town would have one year from the purchase to find a developer who would fund the rehabilitation of the property or else the town would put it back on the market.

The town put together a request for proposals for developers, and did show the property to a handful of interested parties, but no proposals were submitted.

"We'd still like to find somebody," Mayor Neal Roop said, but the town decided it was better to start working with a real estate agent now rather than wait until the year was up in April.

The town has a contract with Galen Roop, of the Long & Foster office in Westminster. Roop is the nephew of Julia Roop Cairns, the former owner of the Dielman Inn, who spent most of her life on the property until she moved into a retirement community in 2004.

Galen Roop is also a second cousin to Neal Roop, whose father was first cousins with Cairns. Neal Roop said he was up front with the Town Council about his familial ties to Galen Roop when he nominated him as the real estate agent for the Dielman Inn.

"At our work session, I brought this up," Neal Roop said. "I said if anybody has an issue, you need to let me know, if we want to find anybody else, I have no problem with that."

Roop said he believed Galen Roop's ties to Cairns and having visited the property over the years gave him a better knowledge of the property, which could be a great advantage in marketing it.

"I really feel between Long & Foster and him as the agent, I think we have the best chance possible of seeing something happen there," Roop said.

One other hope that the town is holding onto is getting the Dielman Inn placed on Preservation Maryland's 2012 Endangered Maryland Program, which will be announced in the March/April edition of Maryland Life magazine.

Councilwoman Kim Schultz, who heads the town economic development committee, said she learned about Preservation Maryland's Endangered Maryland list last summer at the Maryland Municipal League conference. While it was too late to apply for the 2011 list, she made it a goal to apply for the 2012 round. With the help of New Windsor Heritage Committee members Frank Batavick and Bryce Workman, they completed the detailed application and were able to submit in time for 2012.

"While we can't say for sure what it would ultimately mean if the Dielman were selected for the 2012 Endangered Maryland list, the Town Council hopes that appearing on the list would provide much-needed publicity and attract developers for the Inn," Schultz wrote in an email.

The Dielman Inn is still a dynamic presence in New Windsor's streetscape, she said, and its central location on a prominent corner makes the site ideal for a mixed-use building and public parking. The Town Council understands that a developer may need to make significant adjustments to the property to make it function for modern day use, but the members are hoping that the character of the building or its facade can be maintained.

"I also hope that Carroll County residents who read the magazine will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the historic importance of the Dielman, which goes far beyond the town's borders," Schultz said.

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