Thurmont’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase a property on Water Street that the town will eventually use to expand its Public Works Department.
The house, at 115 Water St., is just over 2,000 square feet and has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The town will rent it out until it plans to use the property. The whole property is 9,500 square feet.
“As we as a community grow, and the community is growing, we’ve seen a need to increase our footprint in that area,” said Mayor John Kinnaird. “They’re not making any more ground. If we can consolidate properties down there to get us a larger work area, I think it’s one of the best things we can do for the community.”
The town will pay $152,000 for the house. Its listed price was $175,000.
The property backs up to the town’s existing public works facility, at 10 Frederick Road. The town owns another property at 109 Water St., which it currently rents out and plans to use for public works as well.
“We have seen positive cash flow in the house we bought previously down there,” Commissioner Martin Burns said of 109 Water St. “This is a wise investment [and it] already connects to our property in the rear side of it.”
Kinnaird added that the town may need to use only the rear of the properties and still be able to rent out the houses.
The motion to purchase the property included a motion to inquire both officially and informally with adjacent property owners about their future plans with their properties, as the town may have interest in acquiring them.
Commissioner Bill Buehrer requested at Tuesday’s meeting that the town get a right of first refusal, a contractual right that gives the town the option to enter a business transaction with the homeowner before the owner enters into a transaction with a third party, from nearby property owners.
While there are no set plans for the expansion of the public works department, it could be used as a shop, a garage or a storage area, among other entities that would be needed, according to Jim Humerick, chief administrative officer for the town.
“We’re kind of landlocked right now,” he said. “So purchasing the properties around it gives us the opportunity to expand whenever the time’s right.”