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Carroll County Times

Sykesville prioritizes capital improvement projects

SYKESVILLE - Following a retreat for the Sykesville Town Council to look closely at the budget, the town manager intends to present a narrowed down list of capital improvement projects at the council's Monday meeting.

The total cost for all of the requests is $360,216, according to the list provided to the public at the town's Feb. 25 meeting. Typically the town has spent about $150,000 on capital projects annually without dipping into the reserve, town manager Dawn Ashbacher said.

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Following the March 2 retreat, Ashbacher said it looks as though the town has approximately $200,000 for capital improvement projects - though with the town still creating the budget that number is in flux, she said.

Among the list of requests is a new vehicle for the Sykesville Police Department, paving and site improvements to the Historic Colored Schoolhouse and Gate House Museum.

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Improvements to the Gate House Museum, including remediation for a flooding problem in the basement, and upkeep of the house can be used from the Gate House reserve, Ashbacher said. The Gate House Museum is currently among seven town properties under inspection from the U.S. Department of the Interior for not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

However, at the Feb. 11 Town Council meeting, members of the council discussed possible options to move the Gate House Museum to the Old Main Line Visitors Center and Post Office or possibly the Town House. Improvements to the Gate House Museum total $17,500, including the addition of air conditioning on the first floor, according to the document provided at the Feb. 25 meeting.

The Colored Schoolhouse needs a retaining wall in order to make the schoolhouse compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Councilwoman Julia Betz said it is possible the town could receive a grant for the work at the Colored Schoolhouse, which would make it less of a high priority. The cost of site improvements to the Colored Schoolhouse would cost approximately $30,000, according to the document provided.

At the retreat, Ashbacher said certain items on the list were critical, such as paving on the corner of Sandosky Road and Main Street, where a tree was recently removed, causing cracks in the sidewalk. Improvements to the street are estimated to cost $20,000, according to the draft of the capital improvement projects requests.

"We don't want to get behind on our paving issues because we'll never catch up," Betz said.

Ashbacher said while the council all brought their prioritized lists to the retreat, not all of the views aligned.

In an interview prior to the retreat, Betz said that as the chairwoman of the parks and recreation committee, she would like to see improvements to certain parks, but it comes down to priorities. A swing set needs to be replaced on Kalorama Road, she said, but at the end of the day, she may be able to get a grant for the replacement.

"While I really want to get that done, it's really not a necessity," Betz said.

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Monday, Ashbacher will present a narrowed list of the capital improvement project plans from which the Town Council will begin to make decisions.


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