County gives town 7 acres to build a larger firehouse

2-story headquarters planned on ball field land off Route 75

New Windsor

September 18, 2001|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

The Carroll commissioners cleared the way yesterday for New Windsor to build a firehouse when they gave the town's volunteer Fire Department 7 county-owned acres off Route 75.

The land, now a ball field, will give the department space to build the two-story headquarters it wants.

It has become increasingly difficult to cram new equipment into the firehouse on High Street, said Leon Fleming, liaison between Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association and the commissioners. "They've just outgrown it."

At the firehouse, engines have to pull onto a state road, Route 31, near an intersection with limited visibility.

The ambulance, utility and brush trucks are housed on a lower level in the rear of the building and exit into a narrow alley next to the station.

The Fire Department had asked for the old New Windsor Middle School property that fronts Route 75, but the county balked at giving up the school building.

The 7 acres that the county voted to transfer are behind the school property and will be accessible by an extension of High Street or by a widened Atlee Road.

The county and town hope that an extended High Street also would mean less truck traffic through downtown New Windsor.

With the expansion of the Lehigh Portland Cement factory in Union Bridge almost complete and production at that plant likely to double during the next year, New Windsor expects a substantial increase in truck traffic.

Trucks traveling north on Route 75 toward Union Bridge must make a right from High Street onto Main Street, then a left from Main Street onto Route 75. Both turns are tight and take trucks directly past rows of homes.

Under the new arrangement, trucks would follow High Street behind the old middle school, make a right onto less-residential Atlee, then a left onto 75.

"This could be a win-win situation for everybody," said Pat Hill, executive assistant to the commissioners.

The county will lease a 1.2-acre ball field on the other side of Atlee Road to the Fire Department for parking, the commissioners said. The ball fields are not heavily used, county officials said.

Construction probably will not start for at least a year, fire and planning officials said.

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