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Street plan may affect Boonsboro businesses

August 17, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

BOONSBORO - The state's latest proposal for the Main Street renovation in Boonsboro is fine, but traffic delays could decrease business because of the two-year construction process, residents and business owners said Tuesday.

The Maryland State Highway Administration and local residents and business owners met Tuesday at the Eugene C. Smith Community Center to review the state's $3 million-plus construction plan and offer suggestions for the renovation.

"They didn't dispel my one fear - that there won't be any parking," said Connie Fitzsimmons, 58. She and her husband, Jim, own an antique shop and apartments at 7 and 9 N. Main St.

Jim Fitzsimmons, 62, said he's afraid he'll have to close the antiques shop, which survives partially because of traffic on Alt. U.S. 40. He said two shops closed because of a similar project in Sharpsburg.

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Parking on Main Street will be limited during the construction. The SHA will work on one side of the street while the other side will carry two-way traffic, said Melbana Seifu, SHA project engineer.

The SHA will bar parking on that stretch of road until the construction is complete.

Jim Fitzsimmons said SHA administrators have suggested alternative parking, but "people don't want to walk more than 3 feet."

During preliminary meetings last year, the Town Council began solidifying plans for new sidewalks and repaving the roads, said William Park, SHA engineering systems team manager.

"Any time you put in new streets and new sidewalks, it's going to be good," said Bob Glausier, 67, of 3 Potomac St.

Boonsboro will take advantage of the construction to lay a new water line, Park said. The town will pay for design work, but the SHA will cover the actual pipe laying.

The Boonsboro project is part of a program that began in 1996 as part of Gov. Parris Glendening's Smart Growth Initiative, said Dennis German, SHA assistant division chief.

"It's a state road, but it's also a main street," and there must be a balance between the two, German said.

The Boonsboro Town Council and residents have been involved each step of the way, German said.

"The bottom line is: You've got to have the community involved," Park said.

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