James Rada, Jr.
(3/6) The “on again, off again”
industrial parkway for the north side of
Thurmont is now off again. Two Frederick
County Commissioners took advantage of the
absence of two fellow commissioners to strike
a number of projects from the Thurmont
Regional Plan on Feb. 25.
Their efforts were stopped only when
Commissioner Kai Hagen left the meeting.
“Well, you are done for today because you
won’t have a quorum to make anymore votes,”
Hagen said before leaving the meeting after
asking Commissioners John Thompson Jr. and
David Gray a dozen times in a 45-minute period
not to make decisions on the plan without all
of the commissioners present.
“I’m going to beg you to just hold off till
all five of us are here,” Hagen asked
repeatedly. “There’ no reason in causing more
large gyrations and conniptions and shivers
down people’s spines and what not in Thurmont
over a decision we’re going to revisit in a
week or two with all five of us.”
Gray replied, “It doesn’t seem like
Thurmont’s too concerned today.” He referenced
that no one from Thurmont attended the
Thompson moved to strike the parkway from
the proposed regional plan because there was
“Roads that aren’t funded, I don’t like
putting them in there [the plan] because it
raises false expectations that somebody’s
actually working on building a road when they
However, at that point John Kinnaird had
given the town $100 to start a fund to pay for
a feasibility study for the parkway. Since the
vote, Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns has said he
will be escrowing money to the parkway study
in the town budget.
“You don’t get anywhere with the state if
you don’t have it designated on the map,”
Burns said during a recent town meeting.
County Planner Jim Gugel agrees with Burn’s
perspective. During the county commissioners’
meeting, he told the commissioners, “Funding
shouldn’t matter when you’re looking at a
20-year plan. I mean we need to have the
ability to play for it to support getting
funding at some later point. If we remove that
plan symbol, we lose that support to even try
to get funding for it in the first place.”
Hagen argued with Gray and Thompson that
the county planning commission had left the
parkway in the plan with clarifying language.
Earlier in the meeting, Thompson wanted to
remove a middle school symbol from Emmitsburg.
In the end, he and Gray were satisfied leaving
the symbol for the unfunded and far-future
school in the plan as long as clarifying
language was part of the plan text. They also
accepted something similar thing for some of
the bikeways in the plan that weren’t funded.
However, they refused to allow the same thing
for the industrial parkway.
When Hagen threatened to leave the
commissioners without a quorum, Gray called
his actions “childish.” Hagen told Gray and
Thompson he would only stay if they agreed to
stop making motions to change the plan without
the full board present. Neither one would
agree to that and so Hagen left.
The county commissioners will examine the
regional plan again on March 17. At that time,
it is expected that the issue of the parkway
can be revisited.