Bright future for Warfield Sykesville's New England-style town meetings produce solid plan for surplus land.

May 04, 1998

SYKESVILLE'S preliminary plan to develop the Warfield complex of Springfield Hospital Center is a winner.

The concept of offices and housing, parks and amphitheater fully justifies the state's decision to give the surplus land to the town to develop, and not to Carroll County.

Plan elements were pulled together in a five-day series of public work sessions, involving experts and laymen, that evoked the image of a New England town meeting.

While specific uses for each of the 15 remaining hospital buildings were not decided, the mixed-use plan has already elicited inquiries from prospective tenants.

Carroll County Community College and the corporate parent of nearby Fairhaven Retirement Community are among those looking for space at Warfield.

The 20-year development plan aims to blend new construction with the century-old appearance of existing brick buildings. Some state money will be needed to help, but the town is already committed to saving the state the current $340,000 annual cost of mothballing the vacant structures.

The proposed plan may resolve a long-standing dispute over where to locate a safe intersection with Route 32. Fairhaven, the county, the town and the state have favored different sites.

Planners propose extending Main Street through the complex to link with Buttercup Road at the northern end of Warfield.

If there is agreement on that project, Fairhaven will consider giving Sykesville several acres for a community pool and recreation center.

The estimated $15 million in renovation and asbestos-abatement work will stretch out the project. That will give interested parties time to develop their plans.

Sykesville Mayor Jonathan S. Herman, a restoration professional who was instrumental in getting the land for his town, says the comprehensive plan will be completed by the June 30 deadline set by the state. That should be a snap, given the encouraging manner in which the town has acted to craft an ambitious development plan.

Pub Date: 5/04/98

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