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Purchase of park land finalized

Sarah Harrington

(11/14) The Thurmont Board of Commissioners came together at their November 11 town meeting and one of the topics on the agenda was the purchase of a piece of land that would allow the town to expand the community park.

This is not the first time this topic has been discussed. According to the commissioners this was the second parcel of land they have tried to purchase. During the September 9 town meeting, the council voted to purchase the land. The land was thought to be owned by the town, but it was later found that the town did not in fact own it.

The piece of land is located on the south side of Honey Creek near the rear of the park. The land was separated from the rest of the park by a stream.

At the September 9 meeting the commissioners agreed to pay the owner of the land $6,000 for the piece of property.

At the November 11 meeting, however, there was a motion to purchase the land for $16,900. The offer was made to the current owner verbally and was unanimously approved by the commissioners. The reason behind the change of cost was not discussed.

The land is .571 acres and is located in the west backside of the park near 214 West Main Street.

The motion was approved but before that the floor was open to the members of the board to comment. Commissioner Martin Burns gave some background on the property: "For those who don’t know, if you walked back through the park you would never know that the property was not ours."

Neither the town nor the legal owners were aware that the property was not owned by the town. It wasn’t until the town went to do some work on the property that they found that the property was not theirs.

Once the town knew this, Burns recalled that they decided to see if it was possible to get grant money to purchase the land. "Can we get some grant money to buy that so maybe we won’t have to use tax payers’ money, except for the money you pay into the state?" he asked.

Once the grant was approved, they took it to the owner and made an offer. It was made clear at the meeting, after Burns gave the background story, that this was a finalization of the purchase of the property. He assured viewers that there would not be some "new big piece;" it has always been there. Now the town legally owns the property.

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