Businesses asked to pay for new intersection

Fairhaven, area industry to benefit from roadwork on Route 32 in Sykesville

August 09, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

With the design for a new intersection along Route 32 and access roads nearly complete, the town of Sykesville has yet to find all the money it needs for the $8 million project.

Officials, both in the town and Carroll County, would like businesses that stand to benefit from the roadwork to contribute to it.

"We are trying to do what is right and fair," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman. "The state does not want to pay for other people's responsibilities. We are trying to come up with justifiable expenses for all the players. Some of them will benefit enormously, and they are so far unwilling to pay."

The state will pay about 25 percent of the construction costs and the county expects to contribute, officials said. But the South Carroll town, with an annual budget of about $2 million, cannot assume the remaining cost.

The new intersection will be built just north of Cooper Drive, and it should give motorists easier entry into the west end of town and to Fairhaven Inc., a long-established retirement community that has launched a $50 million renovation and expansion. When the new intersection opens, the state will close the crossing at Cooper Drive and at Springfield Avenue.

The town has agreed to deed to Fairhaven the unused portion of Springfield Avenue that is adjacent to the retirement community.

The road east from the highway will lead into the Warfield Complex, a cluster of former state hospital buildings that the town is renovating into a business and employment campus that could bring as many as 1,200 jobs to the county. That part of the road also will include a roundabout into the Northrop Grumman plant. It would be designed to provide the national defense contractor with safer access for its employees, as well as for its tractor-trailers.

"Northrop Grumman has an unsafe intersection now that needs to be fixed," said Herman.

The project also will open about 30 acres of Fairhaven property to development, a parcel that now has no access to the highway, officials said.

Even as cost estimates for the road nearly doubled in the past four years, Fairhaven Inc. did not increase its $1.2 million contribution offer.

Northrop Grumman has not pledged any money to the project, Herman said. Attempts to obtain comment from the company were unsuccessful.

"The corporations that stand to benefit from this road project should participate in funding it," said Commissioner Dean L. Minnich. "It is appropriate to ask Northrop Grumman to take another look and for Fairhaven to consider increasing its contribution. Residential taxpayers should not pay the full cost of industrial development."

On Thursday, Minnich tied county approval for the issuance and sale of $50 million in economic development revenue bonds for Fairhaven to a commitment from the company to renegotiate its contribution to the road.

Among other improvements, Fairhaven plans to add 100 new apartments and create 24 assisted living units in an existing building.

Minnich called for "a good-faith arrangement."

Charles G. Clark, vice president for facility development for Episcopal Ministries to the Aging, parent company to Fairhaven, told the commissioners Thursday, "You have my commitment that we will come back to the table."

Absent that commitment, all three commissioners said they would have tabled their decision on the bond issue until they could meet with Sykesville officials.

"There are a lot of expenses incurred already and the state is not handling those," said Commissioner Perry L. Jones Jr. "This intersection will enhance Fairhaven's property and Fairhaven should be more committed to the project. The road has to be completed."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.