Carroll commissioners approve task force to study potential sports complex
By Jennifer Turiano
Carroll County Times|
Jan 24, 2019 | 5:15 PM
Carroll County government staff is seeking one resident from each commissioner district to form a task force and assess where a community events center would best be located in the county, and what resources can go toward its development.
The decision was made when the Board of County Commissioners overwhelmingly agreed Thursday there is need for an events and sports center and that research is needed to determine where it should be located.
“The Carroll County Community Events Center … we have a need here to look countywide to provide some recreation and sports,” said Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2.
The Long Term Advisory Council tasked with looking at the arts and recreation in Carroll concluded that there is a “huge need for a large multipurpose sports complex” and that within said complex “there must be a large indoor facility as well as several artificial turf fields outside.”
The discussion began when Department of Economic Development Director Jack Lyburn came to the board Thursday to discuss a feasibility study for the 50-acre former North Carroll High School site in Hampstead.
But although commissioners Weaver, whose district includes Hampstead, and Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said the former school would be an ideal site for a multi-sport venue, Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, said he wasn’t so sure.
“I'm not saying there’s no need,” Frazier explained. “My idea is: What’s it going to cost? How much revenue are we going to generate from it?”
He said the committee should look within a 30-mile radius of the school for ideal locations for the center — stating it isn’t the only logical place for the desired amenities. Carroll Community College, for example, is perfectly equipped for an artificial turf field.
“Believe me, I know there’s a need. Not a need for one turf field but three or four,” Frazier said, who represents the Westminster area.
“I’ve been pushing for a turf field for years; an indoor track, I think we need it in Carroll County. But after reading feasibility studies from other counties, I don't believe North Carroll is the place to put it. I could be wrong, but that’s why we need the study.”
The delegation of Carroll County's lawmakers in the Maryland General Assembly met Thursday to discuss and vote on locally focused legislation. The delegation voted to support bills that would seek state money for local projects, adjust local liquor laws and adjust some gaming and gambling rules.
Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, was on board with a task force though, and agreed with Weaver and Wantz that it is the logical next step — especially since County Administrator Roberta Windham explained there is potential bond money for a turf field only at the North Carroll site, not anywhere else.
“If we figure North Carroll is the best location for this, that's fine,” Rothstein said. “If we figure it’s somewhere else, that’s fine — but allow the team to come up with those kinds of parameters of where we should go next.”