$1 lease needs scrutiny, Sykesville told

February 09, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Before Sykesville leases the Gatehouse, Cottage 15 at Springfield Hospital Center, from the state, the town attorney is recommending "significant scrutiny."

"We should go in and look as if we are buying the property," said attorney Dennis J. Hoover at last night's Council meeting. "It would be nice to have a $1 building, but can we afford it?"

The state is asking for the town's signature on a 30-year lease at a nominal cost: $1 a year.

"The rental is low, but we are undertaking maintenance and insurance responsibilities," said Mr. Hoover. "Has anybody looked at the roof, the foundation, the heating unit? Whatever falls apart will be on our dime." Mr. Hoover had 10 pages of amendments to the proposed lease. He said he objects to a 30-year term. The town should be able to terminate the agreement at any time, he said.

The town is considering housing its historic collection in the two-story building. Since it may also be used for public functions, it would have to be fully accessible in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Councilman Jonathan Herman said the council should identify uses for the building and estimate the cost of repairs. He said he was most concerned with ADA compliance.

"If we are not prepared to spend money on the building, we don't sign a lease," he said. "Like every 100-year-old building, it is not in great shape."

Town Manager James L. Schumacher said the state may not agree to any changes in the lease. He suggested sending the attorney's amended copy to the state before the town pays for any inspection or estimating fees. "Dennis has done the work," said Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. "Let's see if his changes are acceptable."

Mr. Schumacher will also ask county inspectors to look at the Gatehouse and report their findings at the March 8 council meeting.

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