Park has a name, but little else

March 17, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

As a member of the Taneytown Rod and Gun Club Committee, Joe Ebaugh was charged in January to help make recommendations to the Taneytown City Council for improvements to the local gun club property on Stumptown Road so it can be used as a city park.

A month later, he is still a member of the committee -- but he says the committee has no idea what happens next.

"We had given you some ideas about what needed to be done," Mr. Ebaugh, who also directs Taneytown's Little League program, told the City Council on Monday night. "We were just wondering how it was going."

It wasn't going anywhere.

The nine-member committee, chaired by Councilman W. Robert Flickinger, was formed by the mayor in mid-January to study ideas for the park, recommend their feasibility and present them to the City Council for discussion.

The committee sent the council copies of its recommendations for the park early last month. But the only decision that's been made since is to name the facility the Taneytown Rod and Gun Club Park. City officials have yet to discuss 14 other committee recommendations.

"We were filling out some paperwork for grants and things for the park," said Linda M. Hess, the city's clerk-treasurer. "And for the paperwork, the park needed to have a name."

"We thought that before we made any decisions, we ought to examine the grounds," said Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr. "But in case you haven't noticed, we've gotten quite a bit of snow. It hasn't been fit to go out there."

Among the committee's recommendations were:

* Imposing a $75 rental fee for use of the former clubhouse building on the property. The fee includes a refundable $35 cleanup charge. Local youth organizations would be given one free use of the building and would be charged half price for any subsequent uses.

Renting an open pavilion would cost $25, the same fee charged for similar structures at Taneytown Memorial Park, the committee recommends.

* Adding more picnic areas with grills and picnic tables, a small tot lot and bike racks.

* Adding bathrooms, furniture and new kitchen appliances on the first floor of the building, the committee recommends.

* Allowing fishing -- but not swimming or ice skating -- in the pond and developing a children's fishing club to be supervised by the yet-to-be-hired city recreation director.

Mr. Ebaugh also suggested to the council that the 6-acre parcel the city bought south of the gun club and the little-used exercise park in Taneytown Memorial Park could be be converted into fields for girls softball.

Mayor Reindollar said time and money factors make it unlikely that many of the suggested projects will be done right away.

"The only thing we can bank on this summer is the use of the pavilion and the pond," Mr. Reindollar said.

He said that the facilities must be made handicapped-accessible and that the city may have to extend utilities to the property, which now has its own septic and water systems.

But Councilman Henry C. Heine Jr. said the city should be planning ahead.

"Joe Ebaugh was right on track," Mr. Heine said of the suggestion to build the girls softball fields. "We need to assess the needs of the community first. Once you know what you need, you can find out how much you need to make it happen.

"Then you can say, 'We don't have the money for that. Where can we get it?' "

Mr. Reindollar said, "It is true that we are going to have to look to the future, to doing some of these things. But there are things that need to be done first."

Councilman Thomas J. Denike said that the city should have started planning for the park long before the committee was formed.

"We dropped the ball on this," he said. "If you're looking to blame anyone, responsibility starts with the six of us up here [at the council table]."

Mr. Heine agreed. He suggested that if Taneytown had a city manager, plans might have run more smoothly.

"Like [Mr. Denike] said, we have to take responsibility," Mr. Heine said. "But we needed someone to run the city."

City officials agreed Monday night to re-evaluate the committee's purpose and offer its members more guidance.

Mr. Flickinger said he will schedule another meeting so the committee and the council can visit the park site together.

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