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Thurmont receives grants for
revitalization project

Sarah Harrington

(8/22) Ever since joining the Maryland Main Street Community program in 2005, the citizens of Thurmont have been hard at work revitalizing the downtown area. The town has added all new sidewalks, curbs and gutters on East Main, West Main, and North Church Streets. New decorative, energy-efficient streetlights were installed on these streets as well. The revitalization project also included the addition of new benches, new bicycle racks, and trash receptacles to the downtown area.

While great strides have been made to date, the town’s Chief Administrative Officer, Jim Humerick, admits there is still more work that needs to be done.

At the August 4th town meeting, Humerick announced that the town had received three grants in July, totaling $162,800. These grants will help the town in its effort to finish the revitalization of the downtown area.

A Community Development Block Grant for $125,000 will be used to replace the sidewalk on Water Street. The replacement is necessary to bring the town into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The sidewalk in the Water Street area will be completely replaced and all new curbs will be added.

According to Humerick, this is the last of the sidewalk construction planned in the downtown area. Humerick hopes that the sidewalk project will be completed before the events the town has planned this coming fall and winter, such as Colorfest and Christmas in Thurmont.

Two grants of $18,900 each from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be used to build two half-basketball courts in Woodland Park and Pleasant Acres.

Humerick wrote and submitted the grant application for the basketball courts in 2014. The application is currently under review by the town’s Board of Public Works, and upon final approval, work will begin on the courts shortly thereafter. According to Humerick, the goal for final completion of this project is in early spring of next year.

The courts will be placed in the two parks that are located in large subdivisions. The addition of these courts will provide residents in these neighborhoods with more space for recreational activities.

The town is also waiting on the final word regarding an additional grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. If granted, these funds will be used to purchase new lighting fixtures for Water Street and other spots in the downtown area. Humerick did not want to "jinx" the town’s chances of receiving the grant by discussing the grant amount, but he said it looks promising that the town would receive the grant.

The majority of the revitalization project has been centered in the downtown area, however the town will also be doing some renovations in residential areas. These renovations will include the addition of new LED street lights in some of the subdivisions in town. Humerick says this will continue until they have the energy efficient lights in all subdivisions.

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