Taneytown: Don't Be Insulted

November 07, 1994

Nobody likes to hear someone say his house is ugly, but that is essentially what planning consultant Cyril Paumier Jr. told vTC Taneytown of its village. So it is understandable that Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr.'s immediate reaction to the planner's evaluation was hostility. We hope that upon reflection he and other town officials recognize the value of Mr. Paumier's assessment.

Taneytown was founded in 1754 and is Carroll County's oldest municipality. The town has evolved in a haphazard fashion over the past two-and-a-half centuries. Expediency, rather than aesthetics, seemed to be the important consideration in developing the town. As a result, there are few street trees, strings of utility lines festoon the two main thoroughfares and cars speed through Taneytown's center.

Mr. Reindollar was reacting to what were only preliminary findings and recommendations. Mr. Paumier, who was hired by the town with the help of a "Main Street" revitalization grant, suggested that Taneytown explore removing all the utility lines from York and Baltimore streets, installing brighter street lights, landscaping the sidewalks and widening some curbs into "pinch points" to slow traffic and to create parking buffers.

Actually, the city of Westminster has already adopted a number of these techniques. These improvements should not be seen as cure-alls for the ailing retail districts in Carroll's small towns. But, as they have elsewhere, such cosmetic changes may give Taneytown a psychological lift, according to Mr. Paumier.

Like a homeowner whose house needs refurbishing, Taneytown's residents have to decide which of Mr. Paumier's recommendations they want and can afford. Instead of rejecting out of hand the report's suggested improvements, Taneytown residents should consider them a starting point for an extended public discussion on how to make their town attractive again.

CLARIFICATION: Jerry F. Barnes was no longer an assistant state's attorney when the Carroll County Drug Enforcement Coordinating Committee searched J. Jeffrey Griffith for drugs in January 1990. An editorial Friday failed to mention that Mr. Barnes had resigned six weeks before the investigation began.

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