It’s almost time for Mayor Randy McClement’s annual State of the City address.
Patti Mullins, the city’s public relations coordinator, issued a news release last week letting the public know the address is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 16. McClement is set to deliver the speech at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association hangar at 296 Bucheimer Road.
The release said McClement chose to deliver the address at the hangar because it “lies within one of the city’s major economic drivers.”
The address, McClement said in the release, will focus on progress made and prospects for the city’s future.
In 2016, McClement delivered his annual address in mid-September. The speech called out what McClement and city staff members considered “important” infrastructure projects such as the ongoing Monocacy Boulevard expansion. The Board of Aldermen voted in January to complete the second phase of the road-widening and bridge project.
McClement also mentioned the future of the Frederick Towne Mall site, which in September 2016 was in the wake of Wal-Mart backing out of developing there. In February, a new buyer, West Frederick Center LLLP, purchased the land. To date, company owners have had a handful of meetings with city officials but have remained rather mum on their plans for the site.
Last year’s address also mentioned the proposed downtown hotel and conference center project, which is still a major priority for city officials and is moving along. Developers revealed design plans in May and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission is in the process of discussing the details.
McClement is up for re-election for a third term this year but if he is not elected, the upcoming address could be his last.
Another marathon HPC meeting on the horizon
The city’s Historic Preservation Commission has never been known for its short meetings, but the latest one held July 13 was exceptionally lengthy.
And the next one coming up Thursday may not be much shorter.
Not only are the commissioners set to workshop more details of the applications regarding the historic Birely Tannery site and the former Frederick News-Post building off East Patrick Street as part of the plans for a proposed downtown hotel and conference center. However, the agenda leading up to it contains a decent amount of items as well.
In glancing at the agenda, I learned that it contains various applications for work around the historic district. The items include two demolition reviews, a couple of roof replacements, a request to demolish a shed and porch, and a request for a one-story addition, among some others. And of course, a request to remove unauthorized paint on the side of of the old Asiana restaurant building at 123-125 N. Market is set for public hearing for the third consecutive meeting.
The matter was continued June 22 because a public hearing noticed was not displayed on the building in time. On July 13, owner Duk Hee Ro failed to show up to plead her case and commissioners continued it to Thursday. Will she show up this time?
As for the workshop agenda, three items precede the ones associated with the hotel project, which a modest crowd came to hear about at the last meeting. After the lengthy hearing on July 13, which included public testimony from both sides. Commissioners voted to proclaim the Birely Tannery building and surrounding site a contributing resource and of “unusual importance” to the historic district. The vote stopped a demolition request from moving forward for the time being, but commissioners said that does not guarantee it will not be demolished in the future. Commissioners will discuss the request for demolition and plans to preserve the historic elements of the building at Thursday’s workshop. Developers seek to tear down the building as part of the project and several community members have rallied against it.
Commissioners will also discuss plans to rehabilitate the old News-Post building as part of the hotel project during Thursday’s workshop. They voted in a 6-1 majority to designate a 1960s-built addition to the building as a non-contributing resource to the district, which gives the green light for demolition, but they still need to discuss the plans for the rest of the building.
Plamondon Hospitality Partners is developing a 180-room hotel and 20,000 square-foot conference center at 200-212 E. Patrick Street. The project is set to come to fruition with both public and private dollars.