Millington ponders relocation of town hall
MILLINGTON — The town hall here could be getting a new look and a new address.
A letter of intent dated June 28 has been sent from the Millington Mayor and Council to Janice Bramble, whose home in the 300-block of Cypress Street is for sale.
Town Administrator Jo Manning talked about the “possibility of purchasing the property” during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, July 12. There was a large turnout for the monthly meeting, which typically draws no more than a handful of town residents.
About 50 people attended last week’s meeting, which was held in the firehouse. Most were there to hear about the State Highway Administration’s proposed “urban revitalization” of Cypress Street.
For more than 30 years, Millington’s town hall has been the former Farmers National Bank at 402 Cypress St. The town rented the property for $1 a year from 1984 to 2002, when it was deeded to the town as a gift, Manning said.
“It’s costing us an arm and a leg to heat it,” Mayor C.J. Morales said at the July 12 meeting.
One of the advantages of the proposed new location is it “would put us right there at Robvanary Park,” Councilman David Rice said.
If town hall were to relocate to the Bramble property, the staff would literally be able to have eyes on Robvanary Park and the adjacent skateboard park, which have been been vandalized with regularity.
The former bank building is more than 100 years old and in poor condition. The town was denied grant funding to make improvements. The total cost was estimated to be $180,000.
“When you look at renovating our current office, upgrading the electric, HVAC, plumbing and bathrooms, in the long run, purchasing the Bramble property is a whole lot cheaper,” Manning said in a telephone interview Friday, July 15.
The advertised purchase price is $269,000. The property includes a singlefamily home built in 1983, a two-car attached garage and a 3,500-square-foot outbuilding.
The outbuilding would save the town the cost and time of constructing a muchneeded maintenance shed. Currently, all the equipment is kept at the sewer plant on the Queen Anne’s County side of the bridge — uncovered and in the flood zone.
Manning said she is drafting an application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for a loan and grant funding. She also plans to submit an application to Sustainable Mar yland.
The request would be in excess of $300,000, she said, which would include the purchase price, settlement fees, renovations and repairs, and new office furniture “considering the existing furniture consists of old donated desks.”
Minimum renovations would include dividing the kitchen into a small kitchen for employees and a meeting room.
Other wise, said Manning, “the other rooms are sufficient to be used as meeting rooms and offices.”
There is not a consensus at this point about the fate of the bank if it were to be shuttered.
“We could have a vacant building in the middle of town?” resident Darlene Johnston asked from the audience July 12.
Another audience member suggested turning the former bank into a library.
In an email Friday, Manning wrote: “The statement was made that the property would be offered back to the bank for $1. I would think that if they did not want it, then the Town would place it on the market for sale or may consider renting it out. But that would be a decision made by the council.”
Manning said the council could finalize an offer on the Bramble property as early as its August meeting and have a contract in hand by September.
The Town of Millington has identified the property at 342 Cypress St. as a possible site for a relocated town hall and maintenance building.