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State and federal governments on board
 to help Thurmont

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(7/20) With the help of the state and federal park superintendents near Thurmont, the town might finally get some state and federal aid for its sewer system.

Though Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park aren't within Thurmont's town limits, both parks are connected to the town's sewer system and use about 600,000 gallons of sewer capacity a quarter.

Terminating the sewer contracts with the parks has been discussed as an option to reduce strain on the sewer system. Since such a decision would create hardships for the parks, the superintendents told the commissioners last month that they would join the town's effort to get state and/or federal aid for the sewer system.

Catoctin Mountain Park Superintendent Mel Poole set up a meeting between interested parties in Congressman Roscoe Bartlett's Frederick office on June 28.

"I think the consensus was that everyone recognized we have a problem and we need some help and they are going to do what they can to help us get some grants or other aid," said Thurmont Commissioner Bill Blakeslee who attended the meeting.

Besides Blakeslee, Poole, Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns, Cunningham Falls Superintendent Cindy Ecker, and representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Bartlett, and Senator Barbara Mikulski attended the meeting.

"They were enthusiastic about their support," Burns said. "It could be a win-win situation with us getting the help we need and we would consider a long-term contract for the parks."

Currently, Burns said that the contracts with the parks have expired and the town has continued as if they were in force, though he doesn't know if there was an automatic renewal clause in the contract.

The meeting lasted for about an hour and a half and both Burns and Blakeslee thought progress had been made.

"I think what made the difference is that we never had the park superintendents helping us with their support before," Blakeslee said.

Though no promises of results were made, Burns said Mikulski has already called the governor asking him to do what he can to help the town.

The group plans to meet again in August to see where the situation is at.

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