Demolition project to beautify Indian Head begins
Debris removal underway
Partnering with the Military Alliance Council for Charles County and property owners, the Town Council of Indian Head is working to handle blight and remove debris from demolished buildings to restore beauty in town.
At the July 27 council work
session, Brian Klaas, a board of director of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Military Alliance Council (MAC), presented a formal request to the council to be recognized as a community development partner for a grant regarding the debris removal, since the town has been recently designated a sustainable community.
“As a partner we are requesting a grant through the state of Maryland to help cover the remaining cost associated with the demolition of three properties located right outside of the naval base,” Klaas said. “We submitted our formal grant request on July 15, which is the last day to get that grant request in. We have requested funds up to $100,000.”
Klaas brought in prepared documents stating that the MAC will request up to that amount but will not actually use that much of it. He said the request is a form of recognition required to be sent to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development in order to proceed with the grant request. The MAC will present the detailed request to the deputy director at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, a proposal listing the final costs of the project.
“To date we have spent $39,000 on the project,” Klass said. “We have outstanding bills of approximately $17,000, and have paid $22,000 out of that $39,000 with funds from the MAC and funds through various partners. We are anticipating another $25,000 to $30,000 in total costs to continue with the cleanup of the site.”
Klaas said the removal of the buildings and debris is one of the 16 topics that Gary V. Hodge, prior Indian Head economic development consultant, mentioned in his draft of the town’s revitalization plan. The partnership includes intent of filling in the top soil, as well as beautifying and landscaping the site.
“There is going to be a small ... masonry retaining wall put out front to allow that property to have some sort of future use, other than remaining a crumbling infrastructure and mold requisition,” Klaas said. “The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development seems ready to assist the Town of Indian Head in any way possible.”
Councilman Curtis Smith asked Klaas whose responsibility it would be to maintain the property when weeds and grass grow there, and whether the grant would cover the demolition of other remaining abandoned buildings in town.
“There’s no plans to demolish any future buildings,” Klaas said. “The property is still the responsibility and is still owned by the owners of the property. They are not released of any obligation to maintain their property. Unfortunately, the reason why we are involved is because over the years those properties came into a state of disrepair and blight, which is why we partnered with them and the town to find a solution. Once the beautification and landscaping is done, it is our belief that the owners will maintain that property.”
Town Manager Ryan Hicks said the request needs to be presented at a town meeting after the town staff revises it. Staff will then need to make it a resolution and have it at the next meeting, which is Aug. 1.
Mayor Brandon Paulin said as long as the council all agrees, they will move forward with it.
Klaas said that a majority of the debris is already gone, but the MAC is going to be looking at different options of backfilling the space in the area. He and his team plan to be done with the project in 30 days.
“Our goal is to make Indian Head look better and we think that is better for the community,” Klaas said.
Also discussed at Wednesday’s meeting were plans by the Indian Head Business Association and the town to bring back the Indian Head farmer’s market. Potential vendors will be selling flowers, produce and honey twice a week at the Village Green.
An exact date is still in the works, and Hicks suggested specific days of the week that would draw citizens from around Charles County. Interested residents and vendors can reach out to the Town of Indian Head for more information.