Tunnel under Md. 32 in Sykesville to be renamed after former mayor

Tunnel under Md. 32 in Sykesville to be renamed after former mayor
The pedestrian tunnel under Md. 32 connecting Warfield at Historic Sykesville to downtown Sykesville will be named after the town's former mayor, Jonathan Herman, who is credited for executing the tunnel project when the intersection was renovated in the early 2000s. (Sarah Nix / Patuxent Publishing)

The Town of Sykesville has decided to name the pedestrian tunnel under Md. 32 after the former mayor who got the economic development project at Warfield off the ground: Jonathan Herman.

“We wanted to recognize [Herman’s] effort in some fashion,” said Sykesville’s current mayor, Ian Shaw, Monday afternoon.


The suggestion to rename the pedestrian tunnel, which connects Warfield at Historic Sykesville to downtown Sykesville, came from local resident Ross Dangel, who has lived in the town for two years and in Carroll County since 1999.

“To me it was such a no-brainer when I went and gave the presentation to the Town Council and mayor a couple weeks ago,” said Dangel this week. “I literally, between riding my bike and running, I go through that tunnel maybe three or four times a week — so it’s my biking and running route.

“And every time I do it, I’m not only thankful for being able to avoid having to deal with [Md.] 32 and go safely under the road,” he said, “but I’m always struck with just the, it was just genius that [Herman] was the driving force behind that happening.”

Herman was the mayor of Sykesville in the mid-1990s when talks of what to do with the former Springfield Hospital site began.

And when state funding was allocated to renovate the intersection in front of it in the early 2000s, he ensured part of it went toward building a pedestrian tunnel for town’s residents to safely travel to and from the future commercial hub by foot.

“We didn’t have money for the tunnel [at first],” said Herman this week. “The state and highway people had money for the intersection, but hadn’t put in any additional money for the underpass, and one thing led to another and we didn’t have funding enough to build the new intersection.”

So the town became the contractor in charge of building the intersection, he said, and because Herman was mayor at the time he became the project manager.

“Our procurement process was a little bit less stringent than the state’s,” he said, “so we were able to build the intersection for less than the state.”

When Herman found that the town was $600,000 to $700,000 ahead of the state-projected budget for the intersection renovation — he said he knew he needed to put in what will now be called the Jonathan S. Herman Tunnel.

“If it doesn’t happen while I have [Md.] 32 all ripped up,” he said, “it’s never going to happen.

“I think it’s going to be very important in the future to have that ability to kind of come and go and not have to cross [Md.] 32,” said Herman. “You can take your bicycle, walk your kids, all that kind of stuff.”

Discussing the tunnel at this week’s mayor and Town Council meeting will also return the town’s focus back to making Warfield at Historic Sykesville easily accessible.

“Our hope is to start to really look at the big picture planning,” Shaw said. “Improvements at Miller Cooper Park — so the people from Warfield can come over — and connect all the assets together, Warfield, the Gate House Museum, the Post Office, the colored school house. We want connectivity, and that's an important part of that.”