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A bigger Boonsboro greets '07

January 03, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO - The Boonsboro Town Council's vote last week to nearly double the size of the town likely will impact officials' decision-making in 2007.

"Everything is going to be impacted ... but it will hopefully be for the better," said Town Manager Debra Smith. "These properties were going to be developed by the county or in the town."

The vote to bring the properties into the town was made to control when and what kind of development takes place, Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said after the vote.

The council voted to approve eight annexations that span more than 944 acres. Smith said that although no construction can take place until the completion of the town's new wastewater treatment plant in 2008, as part of the annexation agreement, some discussion in 2007 most likely will focus on the properties.

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Treatment plant

The Maryland Department of the Environment has required that Boonsboro construct a new wastewater treatment plant to meet requirements that must be in place by 2010, Smith said.

The requirements are part of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act.

Officials said that this month, bids for construction of the new facility will be advertised for a second time.

During the first round of advertised bids, the low bid was $13.6 million, and Kauffman said the town would like to see that significantly lower.

Officials have worked to reduce the cost by revising some parts of the project and scheduling some components to be added later.

The state has committed $3.5 million in grants and loans, meaning the rest of the project's cost will be paid for by citizens and developers.

Kauffman said he state has created a mandate but not provided the funding, making it a "hardship" for the town.

Park and library

The design documents for the Shafer Park expansion will be presented for approval. A new park entrance near the library will be included in the plans, along with football and soccer fields. A parking lot, restroom and a dock at the fishing pond also will be included, Kauffman said.

The expansion will add 45 acres to the existing 11-acre park.

In 2007, construction will continue on the town's new 10,000-square-foot library, he said. The new library will replace the town's existing 1,713-square-foot library. The building is expected to be complete in the fall of 2007.

Renovation

Kauffman said one of the goals for Boonsboro in 2007 will be working to make downtown a "destination" and not a commuter thoroughfare.

Town officials have prepared a request for a consultant to work on an economic development plan to improve the town's economic base and business climate, Kauffman said.

That plan would complement previous initiatives, including a downtown revitalization study done in 2003 and the town's comprehensive plan, which also will be a topic of discussion in 2007.

The town's comprehensive plan was last updated about 10 years ago. A consultant from the Maryland Department of Planning will work with town officials to revise the plan, Kauffman said.

Officials said the town will work this year to secure funds for remodeling of the trolley station and museum.

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