Aldermen Approve Memorandum Of Understanding For Sophie & Madigan Playground

It will be located at the Westside Regional Park.


Frederick, Md (KM). Plans for a playground dedicated to two girls who perished in a house fire more than five years ago took a big step Thursday night. The Frederick Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Sophie and Madigan’s Playground, Inc., to build the facility at the Westside Regional Park off of Butterfly Lane.

Bob Smith, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation, says the MOU was approved by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. “The MOU calls for Sophie and Madigan’s Playground to fund and install the playground units of the destination playground. The city would be responsible for funding and installing the park amenities which would support the playground,”: he said

The city has set aside $500,000 in its fiscal year 2019 Capital Improvements Plan to pay for the infrastructure for the playground, which will be known as the Sophie and Madigan Lilliard Memorial Playground.

Sophie and Madigan died following a house fire at their home in Myersville in February, 2013. Sophie was 6, and Madigan was 3.

Their parents, Christy and Jack Lilliard, were on hand for the Board of Aldermen meeting. “We just want to thank you guys, and Bob especially, for helping keep the MOU moving forward and getting moved over to the Westside Regional Park,” said Christy Lilliard. “And I don’t think there’s anything in the agreement that we didn’t come to as a team. We’re happy with the way it’s gone.”

“We want to thank of all of you, the city of Frederick, for the opportunity that this has presented us to meet our goals of creating a space in honor of our daughters and also providing something for the community at large,” said Jack Lilliard.


Senior Tax Credit

The Board also approved, again unanimously, an ordinance setting up a supplement to the State Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit program for senior citizens. It  would set up a tax credit of 25% of the total real property tax. Eligible homeowners would need to be at least 70-years of age, and have ac combined gross income of $40,000 or less.

Diane Lewis,  the owner of Phase II Solutions LLC, and a volunteer tax councilor for the Department of Aging,  told elected officials she is “firmly in support” of this ordinance. “This credit is geared toward helping our seniors who are on fixed incomes with no resource to creating additional income,” she said. “Most have gone the reverse mortgage route so there is no longer equity in the home allowing them to downsize or sell.”

The local program will be administered by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation.



An amendment to the city’s ordinance allowing the raising of backyard chickens was also approved on a 5-0 vote by the Board of Aldermen. It would allow owners of duplexes to raise chickens on their properties. Currently, only those who own single family, detached  houses can do that.

Angela Burke, who lives on Grant Place, spoke in support. “I look forward to expanding healthy, sustainable eating options and chicken love to all my Frederick city duplex owners,” she said.

The current law allows residents to raise one chicken per 500-square feet, with six being the maximum. The chickens would need to be provided with a coop and enclosure, with the coop located at least 10 feet away from a lot line. The ordinance also have provisions pertaining to licensing, chicken care and enforcement.


By Kevin McManus