Westminster redevelopment project praised Three involved honored with Smart Growth Award

June 10, 1998|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The nonprofit Westminster Town Center Corp., Carroll County Bank & Trust Co. and the city of Westminster were honored by state officials for their efforts to redevelop the old Farmers Supply Co. site at Liberty and Green streets.

The Maryland Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Commission gave the key players in the redevelopment project a Smart Growth Award during a brief ceremony Monday at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The Westminster project was one of 13 the state recognized.

Carroll County Bank & Trust Co., a subsidiary of Westminster-based Mason-Dixon Bancshares, is redeveloping the Farmers Supply site into a $6.6 million office and retail complex.

The renovation was made possible through a partnership among the bank, city officials and the nonprofit group, said Karen K. Blandford, executive director of Westminster Town Center Corp. and administrator for the city's Office of Housing and Community Development.

The Farmers Supply buildings have stood vacant for several years. In fall 1996, the city formed a partnership with Westminster Town Center Corp., then took an option on the property and solicited proposals for development.

"The effort by the city and staff to bring this project to reality was a major undertaking," said Thomas B. Beyard, city director of planning and public works. "The project is really a series of challenges. We've met the first challenge, which was to get the ** project off the ground. Now we have to move to the next level."

Demolition of three unwanted structures on the 1-acre parcel is slated to begin next week, Beyard said. The historic stone building, which dates to the 1860s, will be renovated by Westminster Town Center Corp. The nonprofit group recently received a $75,000 grant from the state's Neighborhood Business Development Program to help fund the project, which will cost about $400,000.

The Farmers Supply property, about a block south of Main

Street, is one of four sites that consultants have labeled key to a healthy central business district. The other properties are the former J. C. Penney store on West Main Street, and the volunteer fire company building and the post office, both on East Main Street.

Construction at the Farmers Supply property will include a two-story office center above a three-level parking garage and a five-story retail tower. The project is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 1999.

The Westminster project was one of two Carroll County initiatives recognized by state officials. Sykesville received an honorable mention for encouraging resident participation in its redevelopment of the Warfield Complex at Springfield Hospital Center.

Pub Date: 6/10/98

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