County ac­cepts Elk­ton land for fu­ture po­ten­tial swap

Town wants to build com­mu­nity cen­ter on it

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— The county coun­cil unan­i­mously vote Tues­day night to ac­cept two parcels of land that could even­tu­ally be trans­ferred to the town of Elk­ton to build a com­mu­nity cen­ter.

ELK­TON

The land parcels at 201 and 203 Booth St. were pre­vi­ously de­clared sur­plus by both Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools and the state, but the coun­cil had to ex­pe­dite its vote in or­der to meet a 30-day dead­line im­posed by the state.

The de­ci­sion be­came ef­fec­tive Oct. 18.

The Ce­cil County Coun­cil is not al­lowed to en­act leg­is­la­tion in the month of Novem­ber in which coun­cil mem­bers are elected in ac­cor­dance with the county char­ter. This char­ter pro­vi­sion ne­ces­si­tated the ex­pe­dited ac­tion Tues­day night, since that was the county coun­cil’s last leg­isla­tive ses­sion un­til Dec. 6, when a new coun­cil will be in place.

“The next steps will be to dis­cuss dis­posal of this prop­erty, hope­fully in De­cem­ber,” County Direc­tor of Ad­min­is­tra­tion Al Wein said, adding, “Our char­ter pre­vents a lame duck coun­cil from vot­ing in Novem­ber.”

Coun­cil­woman Joyce Bowls­bey, who chaired the com­mit­tee that wrote the char­ter prior to her elec­tion, said that pro­vi­sion was included to pre­vent an out­go­ing coun­cil from pass­ing last minute leg­is­la­tion that hasn’t been fully vet­ted in the pub­lic.

“It’s a safe­guard mea­sure,” Bowls­bey said.

The res­o­lu­tion that the coun­cil ap­proved Tues­day was sim­ply to ac­cept the prop­erty from the Ce­cil County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

When a new coun­cil, which will in­clude ex­ist­ing mem­bers Dan Sch­neck­en­burger, Bowls­bey and Ge­orge Patchell as well as un­con­tested pri­mary win­ners Bob Mef­fley and Jackie Gre­gory, con­venes in De­cem­ber, they will de­ter­mine whether the county has any ex­ist­ing plans for the use of the prop­erty.

Cur­rent coun­cil mem­bers have in­di­cated they would like to move for­ward with the ac­tion to trans­fer the prop­erty to the town of Elk­ton for use as a fu­ture com­mu­nity cen­ter for youth recre­ation.

The coun­cil’s pro­posal for dis­posal of the sur­plus prop- erty will re­quire a pub­lic hear­ing be­fore a vote is taken, which has to be prop­erly ad­ver­tised in ad­vance. None of this ac­tion can be­gin un­til Dec. 6 at the ear­li­est.

Mean­while, the town of Elk­ton is tak­ing pre­lim­i­nary steps in an­tic­i­pa­tion they will be able to con­struct a com­mu­nity cen­ter on 2.38 acres of the prop­erty and con­sider trans­fer­ring a smaller 0.72acre to nearby Wright’s African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church.

MAP COUR­TESY OF CCPS

This map shows the ten­ta­tive pro­posal to ex­change land near Booth Street from Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools to the town of Elk­ton for the pur­pose of build­ing a com­mu­nity cen­ter.

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