Carroll County Digest


October 30, 2002

Commissioners approve contract to auction school

The county commissioners voted 2-to-1 yesterday to approve a contract with a Westminster auctioneer, setting the stage for the sale of the former Hampstead Elementary School.

The auction is to take place on the last official day of business for Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier. Dell and Frazier lost in the primary last month, and other candidates have asked them to refrain from making significant decisions in the last days of their terms.

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge dissented, saying she wanted to leave the disposition of the school to the town. "This school is part of the heritage of the town of Hampstead and the people of Hampstead," Gouge, a former Hampstead mayor, said after the meeting. "The town should have the ability to form its own destiny with something that is its centerpiece."

T. R. O'Farrell auctioneers are to sell the 91-year-old building at 11 a.m. Nov. 26.

Hoping to delay the sale, the town has asked for an administrative appeal hearing on the auction decision. Mayor Christopher M. Nevin has said he will pursue legal action against the county if the commissioners deny the town an appeal.

Town officials had hoped to restore the Main Street building for senior housing.

"Everyone felt the seniors concept was well-accepted," said Gouge. "You would have the seniors right there, helping to revive downtown. This auction is a big disappointment. We are throwing this open to whatever takes place."

The county will pre-qualify bidders, who have until Nov. 15 to submit applications. Bidders must show they have sufficient experience to handle the project and the financial ability to pay the estimated $5 million in renovation costs. The minimum bid is $100,000.

Motorcycle driver killed in accident on wet road

A 19-year-old Hampstead-area man was killed yesterday morning when his motorcycle missed a curve on a rain-slick road west of Westminster and struck an oncoming car, according to state police at the Westminster barracks.

Robert Edward Kinney Jr. of the 2600 block of Hoffman Mill Road was driving a 1994 Ducati motorcycle north on Gorsuch Road, north of Tannery Road, police said. The motorcycle struck a 2002 Chevrolet Impala being driven south on Gorsuch Road about 11 a.m. as rain began to fall more heavily, police said.

The driver of the Impala, Michael Thomas Oles, 44, of the 3800 block of Dakota Road in Hampstead, was not injured, police said.

Several witnesses said the motorcycle had been traveling above the 40 mph speed limit and had crossed a double-yellow line to pass other vehicles before the accident, according to the police. Kinney did not have a driver's license and the motorcycle registration was expired, the police said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

County to request state build Hampstead bypass

County and town officials and Carroll legislators once again will push for the Hampstead bypass in their annual meeting today with the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The commissioners want the state to complete land acquisition and allocate construction money for the $40 million, nearly six-mile route, designed to ease congestion on the town's Main Street.

The bypass tops a list of nine road projects, including improvements to Route 26 in Eldersburg and Route 30 in Manchester. In the Westminster area, the county is asking for Route 140 to be widened and the reconstruction of Route 97 near Carroll County Regional Airport.

The meeting is open to the public. It is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Room 003, County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster. Information: 410-386-2044.

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