(11/30) A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Thurmont Police
Department may not occur until next year.
Construction might have started by that time, according to Rick May, town
clerk, because the Thurmont Police Department hopes to open the $1.8 million
station on July 4, 2007.
Mayor Martin Burns said the ‘‘ceremonial" groundbreaking ceremony, which was
scheduled for Nov. 18 but later canceled, would have preceded contracts that
haven’t been approved. ‘‘There is a conceptual design of the outside and the
inside," he said. ‘‘We expect in the next 30 days to have the final bids in."
The town has designs for a roughly 11,000-square-foot, one-story building
with holding cells, office space, and other police needs.
It was created by NuTec Design Associates, of Frederick, based on police
stations in Taneytown and Denton, as well as input from Thurmont police
However, the outstanding bids meant the Nov. 18 groundbreaking ceremony
would have been purely ceremonial to coincide with a similar ceremony for the
new Thurmont Branch of the Frederick County Public Libraries.
Burns said combining the ceremonies made sense because town and county
officials and residents were already on hand.
He said the outstanding bids deal with the color of walls, type of roof
shingle, and items that will not affect construction of the building.
Resident Gary Seiss told the Thurmont Town Council in July that he would
handle the contracting duties free of charge.
Burns said Seiss sent out bids for almost every facet of the new building,
and the commissioners approve them when they come back in. Seiss made
recommendations to the council through the planning process, but the
commissioners made all the decisions.
Police Chief Greg Eyler said police planned the building to better serve
residents, rather than the cramped 557 square feet of offices, evidence rooms
and armory space in Thurmont Town Hall.
‘‘We want to build this for current needs and future needs, so if we
increase our staff, we’ll have room for that," he said. ‘‘If we increase our
staff size, then naturally, our records will increase, too."
The building will belong solely to the Thurmont Police Department, and not
shared with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.
Eyler said timing and cost were major factors in that decision. ‘‘We wanted
to get this through quicker, and working with county would just have taken
longer," he said.
In January, Thurmont town officials considered dissolving the Thurmont
Police Department in favor of hiring sheriff’s deputies to police the town.
Burns said residents supported keeping the town’s police force, no matter
the cost. ‘‘The town overwhelmingly said, ‘Hey, we don’t want any part of the
Sheriff’s Office or state police. We like our current force and we would like
you to do everything in your power to take care of recruiting and retention
issues,’" he said.
Burns said the state and county award Thurmont for police protection because
the town provides its own service instead of relying on county and state
police. The department consists of a chief and 10 officers budgeted at more
than $632,000, including equipment and vehicles, for fiscal 2007.
Thurmont, Brunswick and Frederick city are the only municipalities in
Frederick County that have their own police forces.