With a flourish of poster board, Westminster city officials unveiled a consultant's sketch for the old Farmers Supply Co. property -- intended to inspire a flood of development proposals for the key downtown site.
"This is one possible vision of what it could look like," said Karen K. Blandford, the city's administrator of housing and community development.
"We need to get the word out," she said, noting that the city is mailing request-for-proposals information throughout the state, to hundreds of "people who could either help get the word out or who could develop the site themselves."
With yesterday's announcement, the city began accepting proposals, said Stephen R. Chapin Sr., City Council president pro-tem.
The deadline is Dec. 3.
One vision presented yesterday by J. Christopher Batten, a Taneytown land-planning and design consultant, features a square tower for office or retail space, two-decked parking in the rear and preservation of an old stone building as a shop or restaurant on the one-acre site at Liberty and Green streets.
The stone building -- believed to date from the 1880s as part of the old B. F. Shriver Canning Co. complex -- is tied to the new structures in his concept with a glass-enclosed courtyard.
"Westminster tends to be one street," Batten said, "and this is an opportunity to expand the draw of downtown by another block, as well as creating a gateway to the south."
The slope would allow two decks of parking with separate entrances, he said.
The city has taken a nonbinding option on the property in a venture to find a partner in developing the site, which city officials, community leaders and a consultant's report have labeled as vital to downtown's well-being.
To that end, the nonprofit Westminster Town Center Corp. has been formed. Jacob M. Yingling was recently elected president of the seven-member board, composed of private citizens and city officials.
"We are new," Yingling said. "We will be able to do things that private enterprise would not be able to do on their own, and the city would not be able to do because it's not a nonprofit corporation."
The sketch, he emphasized, "is just a suggestion. People can use it as a guideline, can ignore it, can submit their own suggestions as to how to use this site." But, Yingling said, "We hope to be sitting here in December and tell you that we have a deal."
State officials already "have been up to look at the site and encouraged us to apply for up to $500,000 from the Neighborhood Business Development Program," Blandford said. "The Maryland Historic Trust also encouraged us to apply for up to $40,000. There are also community development block grants."
Pub Date: 10/02/96