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Washington County briefs

August 12, 2012

County approves resolution to preserve portion of Smoketown Road

The Washington County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in favor of preserving the historic view at Smoketown Road — which has a tie to the Battle of Antietam — and keeping it unpaved.

The resolution says the road “shall be maintained in perpetuity in its present condition” for 0.9 mile, north from Mansfield Road.

The right of way “shall remain unaltered in any manner from its present condition including the unpaved road surface, except for routine grading and maintenance.”

Overhead utilities and traffic signs will not be permitted.

Historian John Frye told the commissioners that he once asked Ted Wolford, when Wolford was the county’s highway director, to never have that stretch of Smoketown Road paved.

Frye and Gary W. Rohrer requested that the commissioners approve the resolution.

Rohrer was the county’s public works director and is now a certified guide at Antietam National Battlefield.

Rohrer quipped that he frequently sat before county commissioners to talk about paving roads, but not keeping a road from being paved.

Rohrer forwarded letters and emails of support he received for the resolution.

Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent Susan W. Trail wrote: “Soldiers who marched to the fields of Antietam 150 years ago would clearly recognize this road, and visitors who travel this historic roadway can see what those soldiers saw.”

Another was from Ruff Fant, an owner of the former Middlekauff Farm, which has frontage on the western side of Smoketown Road.

The commissioners agreed to the resolution. At the suggestion of Commissioner John F. Barr, the commissioners put Sept. 17 as the date of the resolution. The Battle of Antietam was fought Sept. 17, 1862.

Groups to apply for grant to improve shelters for homeless

Four local organizations plan to apply to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for a $75,000 Emergency Solutions Grant.

A memo in the county commissioners’ agenda packet from Tuesday says the grant program “provides funds to prevent homelessness, and to help improve the quality of existing emergency and transitional shelters for the homeless in Washington County.”

The money would go to:

  • Community Action Council, $31,250
  • Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA), $16,250
  • St. John’s Shelter, $10,500
  • Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless, $17,000.

If the local groups did not apply for the funding, they might have to cut services and shelter beds, the memo says.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed to have Washington County Community Action Council apply for the grant on behalf of the four groups.

— Andrew Schotz

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