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Town considers revitalization

January 08, 2002

Town considers revitalization



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


If Boonsboro town officials have their way, storefronts and businesses in the downtown area might be spruced up beginning in 2002.

The town hopes to hire a consultant this year to offer advice on how to revitalize store fronts and other buildings, as part of the state's Community Legacy Program.

The town then plans to apply for additional money through the program to pay for the project, which may happen by the end of the year, said Boonsboro grant administrator Debra Smith.

The project would continue over the next few years if the state funds it.

Last month, the town received a $25,000 grant that may go toward fees for a consultant, but it needs another $25,000 to complete the planning process, Smith said. The town has applied for that additional money.

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"We need the $50,000 she said.

The Community Legacy Program provides money to municipalities to revitalize historic neighborhoods.

Town Manager Jake Jones said 2002 also kicks off the beginning of the Shafer Park expansion.

"That's probably our main objective, to get started this year," Jones said.

Development of an additional 37 acres is scheduled to begin sometime this year and continue over the next several years, Jones said.

In 2000, the town bought the land for $600,000 from retired cattle farmer S. Braden King. The land is adjacent to Shafer Park on Park View Drive.

Plans for the expansion include constructing softball, soccer and football fields, as well as a sod field that may be used as a practice field or parking for large events held at the park.

Jones also said the town hopes to build an Aqua Community Center on the land, which would contain an indoor pool and gym equipment.

He said the town has asked the Washington County Board of Commissioners to support the center.

"We've got the ground, and we've made the offer," Jones said.

He said several years ago the county had considered creating a similar center in town. The building would be open to people of all ages and offer specific programs to seniors and children, Jones said.

Also in line for 2002 is the completion of the state's improvements to Boonsboro's Main Street.

Jones said the project, which began in 2000, should be completed by the end of the summer. He said about 45 to 50 percent of the project has been completed.

"They're pretty close," Jones said. "They're on schedule.

Included in the $3.6 million project is the replacement of sidewalks, curbs and gutters and improvements to storm water drainage.

Jones said the state still has to replace three storm drains near Reeders Memorial Home on the left side of Main Street heading away from town and to upgrade the water line.

"They've got some major digging to do," Jones said.

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