Thurmont’s elected officials have their eye on a rusty railroad bridge.
“It’s definitely not attractive. It definitely looks run-down,” said Josh Bollinger, owner of Bollinger’s Restaurant on North Church Street.
Bollinger purchased the property just beyond the railroad bridge 11 years ago. Commercial property in Thurmont is scarce, so the view of the bridge didn’t deter him, but it looks terrible, he said.
Thurmont launched an online survey in late July asking the public for its input on how the town could beautify the bridge as an extension of its downtown.
Commissioner Martin Burns is spearheading the project. He has been meeting with interested residents for a few months to discuss possible projects that could improve the aesthetics of the bridge as people enter and exit East Main Street.
The survey proposes painting the bridge and repairing the surface of the concrete abutments with a mural or faux stone. The survey also includes an idea to install LED lights on the underside of the bridge, whose colors could be changed for holidays.
The suggestions aligned with what Bollinger, who hadn’t seen the survey as of Wednesday, proposed: “It just needs to be painted and possibly paint the concrete underneath it.”
Not everyone’s views aligned so closely with the town’s, however, when the survey was shared on the town’s Facebook page. Some residents left comments asking for the town to invest in problem intersections or a pool instead of the bridge.
A few residents also questioned why the town was taking on the responsibility of the maintenance of the bridge while Maryland Midland Railway still operates it.
The survey is still available to be filled out on the town’s website and Facebook.
Burns was absent from Tuesday’s town meeting and did not share any updates on the survey.
The Board of Commissioners did approve, however, a resolution that will allow Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder to submit a grant application for money to help finance the project. The town plans to apply for $20,000 from the Community Legacy Program through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
The town did not submit a final design with the grant application.