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Town Square plan update presented

(2/21) The Emmitsburg town mayor and staff held a meeting on February 19 to brief all interested residents and businesses on the status of the plans for the upgrading of the Town Square.

Mayor Donald Briggs, town Planner Susan Cipperly, state Highway Administration district Chief Scott Dutrow, and master plan designer Seth Harry attended the meeting to explain the proposed improvements.

Mayor Briggs stated that the implementation of the current proposal will cost between $800,000 and $1 million, and that additional money going toward façade and property improvements means that the Town Square and other private properties in proximity could total up to a $1.4 million facelift to the general area.

Of the money going directly into the Town Square work, the mayor said the project will be "fully funded" by the state, except for a few proposed enhancements.

The current proposal represents a mulled version of two plans previously presented to the public.

Harry said the staff is "making generously sized, curved corners" which will feature planter benches and other attributes. Crosswalks will be placed "close to the intersection so motorists are aware of pedestrians," he said. "We believe what we have planned is a safe intersection."

Mayor Briggs said, regarding the existing layout of the square, "It’s a dangerous place," and that the proposed design is intended to "enhance safety for pedestrians."

The adjustments at the square will come with the net loss of one parking space. Actually four will be lost on the square itself, but three new curbside parking spaces will be created on Main Street adjacent to the square.

Crosswalks will also be located on West and East Main Street, further away from the square at School Lane and Federal Avenue, consisting of "bump outs," which jut out into the roadway, to help slow traffic as it approaches the Town Square.

Other proposed enhancements will include pedestals, a town clock, and a fountain. The location of the original fountain in the Town Square will be demarcated with a circle in the middle of the intersection.

The mayor said, "The square is kind of the romance of the town. It’s very special to the community." He also said it is hoped over time to carry the theme of the new Town Square up and down Seton and Main Street.

The project is anticipated to take about 18 to 24 months, and could be completed by fall 2014 if the plans are ready to go and approved in March.

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