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Boonsboro moves ahead with plans for park, town

Boonsboro officials are working to revitalize the town's downtown and to expand Shafer Park. A new library branch also is planne

Boonsboro officials are working to revitalize the town's downtown and to expand Shafer Park. A new library branch also is planne

January 07, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

If things go as planned, Boonsboro will see at least the start of some major improvements in the downtown area in 2003, Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said.

The town is working to revitalize downtown and expand Shafer Park, all while a new town manager is still getting his feet wet.

John L. Kendall, of Frederick, Md., started as town manager in late October.

The Boonsboro Town Council hired Kendall to replace Town Manager Jake Jones, who retired after serving in the post since 1996.

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Kendall and Kauffman said they were hopeful the effort to improve downtown Boonsboro will be successful.

The town used its funds plus a $25,000 state grant to pay for a $49,100 contract for downtown revitalization work by Mary Means & Associates Inc. of Alexandria, Va.

Holding meetings


Means has been meeting with government and business representatives, as well as local residents, to talk about downtown and how it can be improved and those efforts will continue, Kauffman said.

Part of the process is to determine what people want to see downtown that is not currently there, he said.

Meanwhile, Main Street has received a facelift as part of the State Highway Administration's Streetscape program.

To complement that work, the town has bought about 35 light poles which, when installed, will include an inscription indicating the person the pole was meant to honor, Kendall said.

Both the Streetscape project and the installation of the light poles will be finished by late spring, he said.

The town also is working on an expansion plan for Shafer Park.

More than two years ago, the town bought about 50 acres of the former King Farm behind Shafer Park with the intention of developing a larger park on the property.

Park plans


The first phase of the expansion includes a soccer field and a softball field. Eventually, the town wants to build a dog park, 1.7 miles of walking trails, a pond and a swimming pool. In all, the park would be expanded from 34 acres to 57 acres, Kendall said.

The town would like to obtain state Program Open Space funds, which are distributed by the Washington County government, to get the first phase of the expansion off the ground in 2003.

Funding questions


If the town doesn't get state funds, which is possible due to a tight state budget, it might use some of its own funds or see if it can get some of the work done by the Maryland National Guard, Kendall said.

Phase One will cost about $800,000, Kendall said

The town expects that it will take from eight to 10 years for the expansion work to be completed.

The estimated cost of the entire project is $4 million to $5 million, according to Kendall.

While it is a Boonsboro project, all South County residents could benefit from it, Kendall said.

The town wants a new Boonsboro library branch building to be built on some of the King Farm land.

The Washington County Free Library and the Washington County Commissioners support construction of a new branch building there, Kauffman said.

The three projects - downtown revitalization, park improvements and the library's construction at the park - are connected, Kauffman and Kendall said.

Kendall said he can envision people coming to the library and the park to take advantage of the free nonmetered parking and then walking to downtown businesses.

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