De­mo­li­tion pro­ject to beau­tify In­dian Head be­gins

De­bris re­moval un­der­way

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIFFANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­

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.

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