SYKESVILLE — With deadlines looming for a projected opening date, the developers of a Victorian restaurant in the town's 106-year-old train depot got a reprieve from the Maryland Historic Trust yesterday on an easement problem that has plagued the project for months.
Jack Saum of Eldersburg and Charlie Cullum of New Windsor, the restaurant's developers, have been unable to restore a section of the building's outside platform due to easement constraints placed on it by the trust.
"We were going to restore the platform, but the trust indicated we couldn't do that because a portion of our platform is 6 inches higher than the original, and they're requesting we lower it," Saum said.
However, the platform can't be lowered because U.S. Sprint has an easement on that spot that precedes the trust's easement and where afiber optic cable is buried, Saum said. While the platform is a relatively minor issue, Saum noted, "What's a train station without a platform?" And if the platform were removed, it would reduce seating, headded.
Until Monday afternoon, the trust had refused to yield on the issue. Then officials from the trust called the town and scheduled a 10:30 a.m. meeting yesterday at the depot with all of the partiesinvolved.
During the almost four-hour meeting, the trust, the town and Saum's wife, Helen, hashed out their differences and reached a compromise which has satisfied everyone, said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.
"Basically we came up with a list of things the trust is approving, one being a portion of the deck they want changed," he said. "The trust will allow the deck that is 6 inches higher than theoriginal, providing we redesign some of the handicapped portion."
Still another problem to be resolved was the replacement of an ornate railing around the station. The town has a picture of the station with the railing so the original design can be duplicated.
The town had planned to replace the railing where it existed in the 1892 photo, then put up a pipe iron railing around the rest of the porch.
"But the trust said we could put up a contemporary replica of the railing around the whole station," Schumacher said.
He added that Jonathan Herman, appointed Monday night at the Town Council meeting as restoration consultant, would do the construction drawings for those areas needing redesigned.
Councilman Charles B. Mullins said Herman,who is working on a job description and cost, will make sure the work is done properly.
Otherwise, Saum said work on the depot is progressing on time and despite the easement problems, will open on time.
"China, flatware and light fixtures have been ordered and equipment is starting to arrive," he said. "The plasterers are in working and painting is to start Friday.
"We copied a Carroll stencil on theceiling from a Medford Road school and have an original B & O stencil in another room."
The developers plan to open the fine dining restaurant in mid-March named Baldwin's, after E. Francis Baldwin, the architect of the depot. The restaurant, considered an adaptive re-useof the train station, will have a seating capacity of 80 people and will serve regional American cuisine, Saum said.
"We've been told by the B & O Museum and Smithsonian that we will be the only restoredtrain station in the mid-Atlantic with a train still going by it," Saum noted.
The town was given $180,000 at 7 percent interest from the State Action Loan for Targeted areas program last summer for renovation of the interior of the depot. The town also has received threegrants from the trust for renovation work on the building.