Main Street project blasted

September 23, 1997


Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - Main Street resident Patty Larson said she didn't have problems walking on her driveway before it was altered during the town's recent renovation project.

Now, she said, the driveway's steepened angle, coupled with her muscular dystrophy, has made her afraid to walk without her husband, John Larson.

"It's ridiculous. If I fall, I can't get up. And I can't always have him with me," she told state and town officials Monday night during a meeting to air problems associated with the town's $2.8 million Main Street renovation project.


The Larsons, of 313 W. Main St., were among more than a dozen Sharpsburg residents who joined town officials in questioning Maryland State Highway Administration officials about project-related property damage, safety concerns and storm drainage problems.

State highways officials promised to rectify, or at least look into, many of the numerous problems they were told the project created.

Sen. Donald F. Munson and Del. D. Bruce Poole, invited by town officials, listened attentively but spoke little during the often emotional, sometimes heated meeting, which ran more than 21/2 hours.

Sharpsburg Mayor George Kesler said Munson and Poole were asked to attend the meeting to put "as much pressure as possible" on state highway officials to solve the town's nagging problems.

Kesler said he was particularly concerned about three intersections where storm water ends up pooling on the road rather than draining underground.

Those intersections are South Mechanic and Main streets, North Mechanic and Main streets and North Potomac and West Main streets, he said.

Willis Baker, of 204 E. Main St., said he blames the raising of his sidewalk for storm water running inside his house.

Baker said he also was concerned about drainage problems at the corner of Church and Main streets.

During the last rain, he said, "the church steps looked like Niagara Falls."

Rudy Delauney, of 104 N. Mechanic St., said water never used to but now runs into his cellar when it rains.

Town officials posed possible solutions for solving problems with clogging drain grates backing up drainage off Mechanic Street.

Councilwoman Denise Troxell asked whether a series of low fences could be constructed to catch debris moving downhill and reduce the amount reaching the grate.

Kesler proposed slanting the grates.

State highway officials said they'd have their engineers look into the viability of various ideas.

But their promises didn't reassure Delauney, who left the meeting early. He said he was frustrated with the whole project.

"It think it's a sorry design. Indeed I do," he said.

West Main Street resident Pat James questioned her home's safety now that a guard rail has been removed and confronted officials about a parking space she was promised in front of her home.

James said she hoped bringing the problems to the attention of Poole and Munson might help get them fixed before more taxpayers' money is wasted.

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