Boonsboro's future includes bigger park, bigger parking

January 06, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

If all goes as planned in 2004, the Town of Boonsboro will have more parking in the downtown area while work begins on an expansion of the town park, Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said.

Town Manager John Kendall is working on an agreement with a Boonsboro business, the SportsBag LTD, to lease 32 of the 36 spaces in its parking lot for public use, Kauffman said. The property is at 23 S. Main St.

At the same time, the Town Council is negotiating with Warrenfeltz True Value and Rental Center to purchase its property, which would be used as an access point to Shafer Park and for limited parking spaces, Kendall said.


Following a public hearing at which there was no citizen input, the Boonsboro Town Council at its Dec. 1 meeting unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the town to acquire the 1.3 acre Warrenfeltz property at 214 N. Main St.

The two projects would provide more off-street parking in the area and would give the town a chance to have a beautiful entrance for the park, Kendall said.


The seats of Kauffman and Boonsboro Council members Dick Gross and Kevin Chambers will be on ballot for election.

Kauffman said he will probably seek re-election, but hadn't made a final decision.

Park plans

Shafer Park factors into several other town plans for 2004.

In December, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved an approximately $87,000 grant for the town to pay for park improvements, including the rewiring of two of the six pavilions and the installation of an additional fire hydrant at the park.

Construction is scheduled to start around June for a $20,000 project - funded with state money - to restore and improve a stream that goes through the park.

Meanwhile, Kendall said the Maryland National Guard has approved a Town Council request to have Guard members do the initial grading for the planned expansion of Shafer Park. The grading work is scheduled to start this spring or summer, he said.

The town will be charged only for the fuel costs for operating the Guard's construction equipment, Kendall said.

The first phase of the expansion includes a soccer field and a softball field. It was not yet known when the first phase would be completed because it is related to the National Guard's schedule, he said.

Eventually, the Town Council 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 about 57 acres, Kendall said.

The estimated cost of the total project is $4 million to $5 million.

Downtown development

This year the Town Council plans to implement suggestions made by consultant Mary Means & Associates Inc. of Alexandria, Va. The council paid the consultant to suggest ways to revitalize downtown.

In addition, the council is going to apply to have the historic section of the town be listed in the National Historic Register, which would make some property owners eligible to receive tax credits, Kendall said. Kauffman is also talking with the owner of the Boone Hotel about the future of the property. The property has been criticized by some residents as hindering downtown improvements.

Kauffman said he and town officials are encouraging the property owner either to fix up and open the business or to sell the property to someone else.

Other projects

A wastewater treatment study, funded by a state grant, is scheduled to be done in March, Kendall said. That study, depending on its results, could lead to the potential expansion of the town wastewater treatment facilities.

Meanwhile, the town is bracing for continued growth in parts of Washington County near Boonsboro, Kauffman said. Annexation is important if the town is going to control the growth, Kauffman said.

At some point, the Town Council wants a bypass round the town, connecting Md. 67 to Md. 66, with developers requesting town annexation to pay the route's cost, he said.

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