SYKESVILLE — The towns of Boonsboro and Sykesville have much in common, but it isthe differences that stand out.
While their mayor-and-council governments serve similar populations, town facilities here are notable enough that Boonsboro's mayor and Economic Development Commission visited Sykesville on Saturday to get a look at programs and projects that they hope to emulate.
Officials from the Washington County town asked about Sykesville's recycling program and downtown parking.
Boonsboro Mayor Skip Kauffman said he came to Sykesville after getting to know Mayor Lloyd R.Helt Jr. and other officials from Maryland Municipal League conventions and hearing about their programs.
"We heard Sykesville was doing around 30 percent recycling, and that caught our attention. We definitely need that," Kauffman said. "We have a downtown business district that's very limited because of a lack of parking. Many of our businesses do not have their own parking.
"Our purpose today is to see how Sykesville developed its municipal parking lot."
Boonsboro officials wanted to know how Sykesville used Community Development Block Grant money to build its 60-space parking lot behind Main Street, off Oklahoma Avenue.
Town Manager James L. Schumacher, who writes grant proposals for Sykesville, credited good planning for the town'ssuccess in landing grants. The block grant money comes from the federal government, but is administered by the state.
"We did some thinking ahead of time," Schumacher said. "We did a downtown master planand a special plan with goals like the train station, downtown parking and storm drain project, and that helped."
While $105,000 in block grant money purchased the one-acre site, the town paid $70,000 topave the municipal parking lot, he said.
Helt added that personalcontact with the departments involved is very important.
On a walking tour of the town, Helt and Schumacher answered questions from the nine-member Boonsboro delegation. John Murto, Boonsboro's EDC secretary/treasurer, asked about the town's used-oil tank.
"I've got half my neighborhood wanting to recycle used oil, but we've got no place to take it," Murto said. "Boonsboro was offered an oil tank, but wewere told we'd have to put it in an enclosed space with a cement barrier."
But Schumacher said the oil tank enclosure could be an earth berm and was simple to install.
"This recycling center is great," said Ray Givens of Boonsboro, a Department of the Environment watercontrol investigator in
"Lloyd said this center costs the town absolutely nothing," Givens said. "I'd say Boonsboro should pick up on this and the used-oil recycling within weeks."
Murto called Sykesville a beautiful town.
"Boonsboro is gettingready for a boom, and we want to solve the problems we have before that happens," he said. "I'm impressed with this town. We rode around for 20 minutes before going to the Town House, and there wasn't a piece of trash anywhere."
Sykesville has its own maintenance department, Schumacher told the visitors.
Boonsboro contracts out for trash pickup, Kauffman said.
"I'm very impressed," Kauffman said. "Sykesville is about the same size as Boonsboro, and I draw my comparisons from that. It's interesting seeing the differences and similarities."
Kauffman invited Helt and Schumacher to visit Boonsboro. Helt said town officials likely will make the trip next spring.