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County Commissioners briefs

October 01, 1998

Rural historic sites to be studied

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to accept state funding for a massive survey of several rural communities in the county.

During the study, the county will produce a detailed survey of historic sites in the area that includes Pen Mar, Highfield and the communities of Cascade and Tilghmanton.

The project, which county officials estimate will cost about $20,000, comes two years after a project that produced a report on Maugansville and Rohrersville.

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Steve Goodrich, a county planner whom the commissioners named project administrator, said the information is valuable for genealogical research. It also can be used for researching old buildings prior to renovating them and can help the county implement its demolition permit policy, he said.

"This type of information might save time and money on other county projects," he said. "The group of people who are interested in this type of information is growing."

Goodrich said the survey will include a full history of the communities, from how and why they developed to an inventory of the properties that contribute historical significance.

The cost of the program will be paid from $4,940 approved for the county's Historic District Commission's budget. The project will also receive a $12,000 grant from the state, Goodrich said.

That leaves about $3,500, which can be handled through in-kind contributions, including time spent by county employees who will be working on the survey, Goodrich said.

"I don't believe we'll have any trouble doing that," he said.

Army to pay for safety services at Fort Ritchie

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday voted 5-0 to ratify agreements negotiated with the U.S. Army to compensate local officials for police and fire services at Fort Ritchie when the base closes.

Under the one-year agreements, the Army will pay $53,000 for fire and rescue services, which will be provided by volunteer companies in Smithsburg and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

In addition, the Army will pay the Washington County Sheriff's Department to provide police coverage for the area. The agreement is for a maximum of 36 hours per week at a cost of $22 per hour.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the agreements will be in effect for one year while the Department of Defense and the PenMar Development Corp. negotiate a long-term contract.

The PenMar Development Corp. officially takes control of the base today and will try to transform it for commercial uses.

Recycling guru praised for work

Margaret Comstock, a driving force behind recycling in Washington County and co-founder of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, turned 90 on Wednesday, still savoring the certificate she received the day before from the Washington County Commissioners.

"We wish we had many more like you, Margaret, who care about your community," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Comstock's certificate of merit, signed by all five of the commissioners, praised her years of community service.

Comstock has been a tireless advocate for recycling service and recalled that she lobbied the commissioners to purchase recycled paper and to print on both sides of the paper.

"I think you all have been helpful," she said.

Asked by Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers what more needs to be done, Comstock said curbside recycling pickup would boost participation.

"There's a lot more that can be done and should be done, if only people can wake up to the fact that it's necessary," she said.

- Brendan Kirby

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