Grand entrance to Sykesville Howard County: Bicounty plan for scenic gateway is intriguing, but questions remain.

March 11, 1998

THERE'S MUCH to recommend about Sykesville's plan to lease land from Howard County and landscape it as an attractive southern gateway to the town. The beautification project would benefit Howard and Carroll counties and promote revitalization of Sykesville's historic downtown.

Sykesville's desire to create a parklike drive along Routes 32 and 851 as they enter Carroll has support of Howard officials, who acquired the neglected factory site three years ago.

The situation at the northern border of Sykesville is much less promising, with a long-standing dispute over providing a safe, functional intersection with Route 32.

County, town and state officials agree that an intersection with Route 32 is needed in the north. They favor a 1.2-mile extension of Obrecht Road just north of town to connect with the state

highway. But Fairhaven Retirement Community owns that land and declines to grant a right of way -- unless Third Avenue (the main entrance to the community) is first extended to intersect with Route 32.

The state won't finance two Route 32 intersections so close together. Carroll County won't pay to finance a municipal street project (Third Avenue). And Sykesville says it doesn't have the money for the Third Avenue extension even if it wanted to do the project.

The town's acquisition of the state's Warfield complex at fTC Springfield Hospital Center for development gives new urgency to solving this traffic problem. The county must commit to building the Obrecht Road extension, with state aid and regardless of Fairhaven opposition, for the area's economic development. Sykesville needs to focus on sprucing up the southern entrance, in conjunction with Howard, and developing the eastern border along the Warfield property.

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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