Governor presents town with gifts, compliments

He gives Sykesville ceremonial $100,000 check, deed to 96 acres

April 18, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening visited Sykesville yesterday bearing much-anticipated gifts and praising the town's efforts to grow while preserving its historic buildings. The governor presented Sykesville Mayor Jonathan S. Herman with a fake $100,000 check and deed to 96 acres along Route 32, while assuring town officials that the real ones are on the way.

The deed to the Warfield Complex - 13 century-old former hospital buildings once part of Springfield Hospital Center - should arrive by mail this week, and the money, the latest in what is now a $400,000 state contribution, will be available when the fiscal year begins July 1.

The town plans to restore Warfield into a business and academic center that promises to bring more than 1,000 jobs to Carroll County. The project meshes well with Glendening's Smart Growth plan, legislation that steers growth to communities such as Sykesville.

"Towns must grow if they are to prosper, yet we don't want growth that is sprawl," Glendening said. "Preserving these buildings means we won't have one more forest or one more farm come down to accommodate space. Here we are helping to revitalize an existing community."

Plans call for extending Sykesville's Main Street and making it a thoroughfare into the Warfield Complex.

"We are excited by the reuse of strikingly beautiful buildings that focus the center of economic activity on Main Street and make Warfield a natural extension of Sykesville," Glendening said. "We are pleased to see the county's contribution to this effort. I have asked the state Department of Economic Development to make Warfield a top priority."

Carroll County pledged $300,000 last week, a grant the town will use for engineering studies.

"We are glad to move this project forward and intermesh with the town and state to make it work," said Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge.

On a brief walk along Main Street, the mayor and governor stopped at a newly opened model train shop in a building restored with a low-interest state loan. Glendening, who recalled a Lionel train set from his childhood, left the shop with a striped railroad cap and bandanna.

Officials had lunch at Baldwin's Restaurant, once a decrepit railroad station that the state helped the town renovate into an award-winning business that anchors Main Street.

"The governor has a lot of insight into what we are trying to do here," Herman said. "The state has been a big part of our revitalization effort and will help us in the future, especially now that the governor can make the connection because he has been here."

Earlier in the day, the governor participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Carroll's new $6.9 million District Court building. "We want to make sure our facilities go in growth areas," Glendening said. "By working together, enhancing Smart Growth, we can choose to have a sound, prosperous economy and still have quality of life across the state."

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