Milling­ton pon­ders re­lo­ca­tion of town hall

Record Observer - - News - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews. com

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.

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