Future of Elkton’s old town hall remains cloudy

The Valley Banner

ELKTON — Town staff might not return to the former Civil War hospital most recently used as Elkton’s Town Hall.

Mayor Wayne Printz and Troy Shifflett, the town’s public works director, said at last Monday night’s Town Council meeting that the building at 173 W. Spotswood Ave. is in very poor condition.

An effort is being made to rid the structure of asbestos and mold.

The town moved its operations to the Elkton Area Community Center nine months ago after the first floor of the structure flooded.

“The house is in much worse shape than I could possibly imagine,” Printz said at the meeting.

He went on to outline seeing mold under floor tiles, moldy rags stuffed into places in walls, and a foundation that’s crumbling in spots. Photos of the problems also were shown.

Shifflett said the cost to make the structure habitable again would be “astronomical,” estimating that it would be a minimum of $500,000.

When asked by a member of the public attending the meeting what the town would do with the structure, Printz said it’s too early to determine that.
Town Manager

Also at the meeting, council members fielded questions from two residents about the status of the town manager position, vacant since February 2016. The town’s Personnel Committee is reviewing nine candidates.

Kevin Whitfield of Lee Avenue, no kin to the man of the same name who was the town’s last manager, said he wanted to know if the panel is committed to the council-manager form of government as spelled out on a page on the town’s website. He thinks the position should be filled.

Printz, who’s serving as Elkton’s acting town manager with no salary, has said he thinks more is getting done as council desires without a manager.

Councilman Harry Armbruster has said he has a better feel for what’s going on in the departments for which he heads committees than he previously has.

“I’m wondering,” Whitfield said of council-manager governance, “if council is obligated to do that?”

Haze Crider spoke shortly after him and expressed similar sentiments, saying the position should be filled. “There are plenty of qualified people out there,” she said. “We should get off the fence and do something about it.”

Printz countered that some previous managers were inefficient, and he thinks the town is running better than it has in recent years with Town Council members overseeing its operations. He added that the vacancy saved Elkton about $80,000 this year.

EPIC Achievements
Council members also celebrated a civic organization’s 30 years of service to Elkton at the meeting’s end, presenting a proclamation to some of the Elkton Progressive Improvement Committee members honoring the nonprofit group’s work to make the town a better place to live, work and play.

Donna Mowbray said the organization raised more than $1 million over those three decades and spent all of it on projects benefiting the town.

EPIC’s list of achievements include holding the annual Elkton Autumn Days Arts and Crafts Festival and Greater Elkton Open Golf Tournament for 30 years, building a shelter and adding a quarter-mile walking track in Stonewall Park, placing “Welcome” signs at town entrances, twice refurbishing the Elkton Elementary School bell tower, and hosting pre-election candidate forums for town and county offices that would serve Elkton.

Town Council also announced it will hold two meetings on May 22. One was to make decisions on the fiscal 2018 budget. The other was a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission to hear Billy Starkey’s request for a special exception permit to operate an imported wine warehouse at 102 Fifth St. Attempts to reach Starkey about his plans were unsuccessful.

Council unanimously approved a boundary adjustment at 630 F St. to make a 3.87-acre lot and a subdivision at 147 W. Spotswood Ave.

Council members Jay Dean, Steve America, Armbruster, Joshua Gooden, Margaretta Isom and Jeff Jones supported both measures, which had received the unanimous endorsement of the town’s Planning Commission.

The panel also unanimously supported the appointment of Dorenda Flick to the Planning Commission and reappointment of Debra Breeden and Randell Snow to the Recreation Commission.

On a pair of 6-0 votes, council approved a survey of part of Park Avenue so it might be paved in the future and agreed to donate $3,000 to the Elkton Volunteer Fire Company. The council members also were thanked by five members of Elkton Boy Scout Troop 46 for allowing the group to hold a camping event in January.

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