City rethinks station plans as bids come in too high

Police facility part of renovation project

September 30, 2001|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Taneytown leaders hope that by designing their new police headquarters as an old railroad station, they will create a stylistic linchpin for their downtown revitalization efforts. But style and unexpected foundation work will apparently cost more than they bargained for, and they have suspended bidding on the project until they can raise more money from private donors or conceive cheaper specifications.

Nine bids for the project came in between $957,000 and $1.3 million, said City Manager Patrick Nield. The City Council had hoped to spend about $700,000 on the project.

"I would call this a delay more than a setback in our efforts," Nield said.

The one-story police station will stand where a railroad line crosses East Baltimore Street in the heart of the city's downtown.

The design called for a wooden facade with a mahogany door capped by a half-moon window made of leaded glass. The door and window would cost about $16,000, Nield said. The site would also feature a municipal parking lot with 58 spaces, a key feature for the parking-starved downtown.

Nield said the town's concept for the station has not changed despite the high price tag. He expressed hope that private donations would eliminate the need for a redesign and said the 5,000-square-foot station project could be rebid as soon as December.

Mayor Henry C. Heine said the city would re-evaluate the building's design specifications but said any changes "won't be of substance but will be more having to do with materials."

Heine said the project is more costly than expected partly because the foundation of the building that used to occupy the property is less stable than once thought.

City officials want to proceed as quickly as possible, because they are scheduled to temporarily move into the police station during a planned $500,000 upgrade of City Hall.

The two projects are the heart of the city's contribution to its revitalization, an effort aided by the state's Main Street Maryland Program.

Last year, Taneytown became Maryland's sixth Main Street Community.

One manifestation of its revitalization efforts will appear next month when artists begin painting a re-creation of a Zile's Ice Cream sign on the side of City Hall. The sign for the now-defunct ice cream maker adorned the building in the early 20th century.

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