The town of New Market will devote up to $175,000 toward a potential events barn in the community park.
Meeting in town hall for their first in-person council meeting in more than a year, new and reelected council members unanimously approved the measure Thursday.
Council further discussed park-related improvements that could be supported by incoming county funds. Frederick County is to be allocated $6 million in state funding for local parks and playground infrastructure, half of which is to be dedicated to municipal partners, according to a county memo included in the town’s meeting agenda packet.
Jean LaPadula, grants manager and Main Street coordinator for the town, anticipates New Market will receive between $175,000 and $250,000, depending on whether the county distributes the money evenly or calculates funding based on the size of municipalities.
There is also a timeline to consider. Funds must be encumbered for projects during fiscal 2022.
At the mayor’s request, town engineer Shawn Burnett drew up cost estimates for a potential events barn the town considered pursuing around 2019, LaPadula said. The building could be used for town events or possibly be rented out for weddings or other activities. LaPadula said the town might consider constructing the events barn where one of the two basketball courts is located in the community park.
Town staff estimates the project could cost up to $400,000, of which potentially $175,000 would be supported by park funding from the county. Bathrooms, water and sewer costs, roughly $50,000, could be covered by the American Rescue Plan Act funds, LaPadula added.
Questions arose about building capacity.
“You’d hate to commit to this thing and then find out that you can only get 40 or 50 people [inside],” Mayor Winslow Burhans III said.
Various councilmen voiced support for the building, with the condition that it would safely fit at least 100 people. Town staff agreed to follow up with the fire marshal’s office to determine potential capacity limits. The exact square footage is to be determined.
With the county’s July 16 application deadline for funding quickly approaching, LaPadula sought further project ideas from the council should the events barn plan not pan out. Councilmen floated ideas such as improving park lighting, adding benches or improving walking/biking trails.
In other business:
- Council discussed the potential repair/removal of the chimney at town hall, 40 South Alley, and agreed to push back a decision until next month when more cost estimates are hopefully available.
- Council directed the town engineer to look into sidewalk repairs along Main Street.
- Council granted K.A.T. Cafe owner Diane Foland exclusive use of the community bulletin board outside the cafe at 26 W. Main St. for one year in exchange for repairs, painting and maintenance of the bulletin board. Councilmen discussed how the bulletin board is currently in bad shape.
Mayor and Town Council meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. The Historical District Commission/Architectural Review Commission is scheduled to meet July 13 at 7 p.m.