The town of Sykesville has earned a state Smart Growth Award, which honors communities working to strengthen existing neighborhoods.
The Maryland Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Commission announced the award Monday in Baltimore and praised the town's development initiative for the Warfield Complex, a 138-acre property once part of the Springfield Hospital Center for the mentally ill.
When the state Board of Public Works approved Sykesville's proposal to annex Warfield in December, local officials began planning its future immediately.
In April, Sykesville organized a weeklong intensive planning session at Warfield and invited residents to participate. The event, partially funded by a $30,000 state grant, drew business and community leaders, county and state officials and urban planners.
The session was "an innovative effort to increase citizen involvement in and awareness of Smart Growth and neighborhood conservation principles," state officials said.
"The state has offered us a tremendous opportunity that will benefit the future vitality of the town and its tax base," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman.
Sykesville hopes to attract tenants as it converts Warfield into a business and industrial campus. Statewide recognition could help interest private development in the renovation of the 15 century-old buildings, said Matthew H. Candland, town manager.
"This recognition raises awareness of the project," Candland said. "The development community will hear about it."
The city of Westminster, also among the 13 honorees, was lauded for efforts to redevelop the old Farmers Supply Co. site at Liberty and Green streets.
Pub Date: 6/12/98