Jefferson wins state money
for streets, sidewalks
Original source document: http://www.gazette.net/200443/frederickcty/updates/241977-1.html
by Angela Pfeiffer
Oct. 26, 2004
More than four years after Jefferson residents launched an effort to bring more and better sidewalks and roads to the small community west of Frederick, the state has contributed half-a-million dollars to begin the project.
Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan announced Thursday the awarding of $500,000 for preliminary engineering of the project under the state’s Streetscape program, which will bring new and better sidewalks along Md. Route 180, the main road through town.
The project will also improve the curbs and gutters along the road and repave it between Broad Run and Old Holter roads. The plan also calls for adding parking spaces to the road, improving drainage and adding landscaping.
Once the project has been designed – a task expected to be complete in the fall of 2005 – it must be submitted to the state for construction approval and funding.
Jefferson resident Jim Carpenter, a member of the Jefferson Ruritan, the driving force behind the Jefferson Streetscape Task Force which lobbied for the project beginning in August 2000, welcomed the news in the moments before Flanagan’s announcement.
Residents went door-to-door in the area quizzing people on what improvements were needed, Carpenter said, and started a Web site to post information. The project has been inactive since January 2003, when all funding for Streetscape projects was cut from a deficit-ridden state budget.
The money was made possible this year because of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s $237 million transportation funding package – passed by the General Assembly in the recent 2004 legislative session – which raised motor vehicle registration fees.
The Streetscape work is intended to give people sidewalk access to places such as the post office, Valley Elementary School and Ruritan Community Center.
Robert Fisher, district engineer for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said Jefferson was at the top of the state’s priority list for funding and state officials were just waiting for the money to come through.
Streetscape projects are assigned points based on factors such as need, age of the road, the ability of a project to help a community, and the amount of community support, Fisher said, and Jefferson came in at the top based on those factors.
Fisher said although it is not unusual for an unincorporated community like Jefferson to apply for streetscape money, the effort by Jefferson residents to see the project through was striking.
“Certainly Jefferson is one of the best that I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” he said.
Carpenter said the task force tried to remain optimistic about the outcome of their efforts.
“We always knew the economy would turn around and we’d be high on the (priority) list,” he said. “It took patience, and we had to reassure ourselves it wasn’t time wasted.”
Meanwhile, a Streetscape project submitted by the Town of Middletown for
funding remains on the state’s list of projects waiting for money, Fisher said.