SYKESVILLE gets it all: all the money it has spent planning redevelopment of the 138-acre Warfield Complex the town is acquiring; all the boost of a $25-million-plus state police training facility as anchor for those former Springfield mental hospital grounds.
State funding gives the town a running start toward making the annexed property a viable addition to the community.
Instead of office buildings, apartment houses, a hotel and high-tech firms once planned for the complex, the property will see nonprofits and public agencies as its first tenants. Carroll Community College and New York-based Touro College, with plans for small branches, are on that short list of prospects.
A state grant of $232,000 approved this week will cover town expenditures so far. The state's approval of $3.5 million to start work on the training center buildings adds to the momentum.
Redevelopment will be a long-term project, with potential tenants fronting the money for their leases, Sykesville officials say. The officials repeatedly promised that no town funds would be at risk in the annexation-development proposal. (The town has annexed the land; the final deed transfer is imminent.)
The town projects that the Warfield property will create 600 new jobs and generate $1 million in tax revenues. The police/corrections officer classrooms could draw up to 500 visitors a day.
Sykesville benefits from the governor's fickleness. He froze plans last year to build the entire $50 million training center on adjacent state grounds, claiming the facility would promote undesirable sprawl. That's after the driver course and firearms range were in place, and $20 million had already been spent. After months of delay, the governor chose the Warfield Complex for the classroom-office-dormitory part of the center.
Sykesville must now take advantage of this important state aid to land tax-paying, private business tenants for Warfield.