Volunteers seek move to site of old school

Fire company location difficult for firetrucks

March 05, 2001|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

New Windsor fire company's desire to move to the site of a vacant Carroll County school building at the edge of town has resurfaced.

New Windsor Fire & Hose Company No. 1 wants to move from High Street in the center of town, where its trucks sometimes have difficulty maneuvering on the two-lane road, to the old New Windsor School at Green Valley Road (Route 75) and Atlee Avenue, said town Councilman Ronnie Blacksten, immediate past chief of the company.

Blacksten made the comment last week at the annual meeting of town officials and Carroll County commissioners.

"It's always had the attention of the fire company," said New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr., noting that this was his eighth discussion of the old school in eight years. "It's really the only place in town" suitable as a site for a new fire facility.

"We are noncommittal," Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge said.

Gouge said the commissioners need to talk about the property and noted that the school board hasn't turned it over to the county.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell expressed reluctance to tear down a sound building that might be recycled for another use, such as senior housing, and wondered whether the fire company might be able to build a firehouse and keep the old school for storage or some other use.

Blacksten said the company would prefer to demolish the school and build a new station closer to Route 75.

Dell said things could happen quickly once a decision is made.

The last class graduated in 1968 from New Windsor School, which was built in 1936, said Ralph E. Green, county director of the Department of Permits, Inspections and Review.

He said he had been through the empty building three times and it is sound but heating it costs thousands of dollars a year.

The meeting also included an update on the town's Main Street revitalization plans, its hopes for attracting commercial and industrial development, and possible solutions to traffic problems.

A new firehouse at the school site could rejuvenate plans to extend High Street to Route 75, said Steven C. Horn, county director of planning.

This idea would have been the first piece of a three-phase road project - rejected in the town's master plan of 1997 - to detour truck traffic from main streets.

Gullo said the State Highway Administration suggested several road improvements recently as part of the Main Street revitalization project.

"Maybe we can put a period at the end of some of these projects we've been working on for years," he said. "A lot of pieces have to fall in place."

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