Aldermen Sell Property To Religious Coalition For $1

They also approved several contracts covering runway extension at the airport.


Frederick, Md (KM) In an unanimous vote Thursday night, the Frederick Board of Aldermen agreed to sell a 0.6-acre site at 7516 Hayward Road to the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs. The price was $1.00.  The parcel contains a dilapidated farm house which the non-profit plans to turn into an emergency family shelter.

“This is a remainder piece of property that has a very large 8300 square foot farmhouse on it. It was leftover from the city’s acquisition of the property to build a new water tower. And that water tower has been constructed,” says Richard Griffin, the city’s Director of Economic Development.

The city was originally going to sell it the Religious Coalition for $500, but Alderwoman Kelly Russell made the passing motion to sell the land for $1.00.

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak voted in favor of the sale at this extremely low price. But was worried  that the farm house was in such sad shape that rehabilitating it could be costly to the Religious Coalition. “I’m a little concerned the cost to fix the property may be something that the Coalition may not be able to afford,” she said.

But David Rogers, Past President of the Religious Coalition, says he remains confident. “In fact, I would tell you that informally some of our most committed donors and houses of worship have already said ‘yes, we;re behind it.’ And some to significant amounts,” he said.

The Religious Coalition says it wants to fix up the building so it can house 45 to 50 people.

The sale provides the non-profit with a 60-day feasibility period to evaluate how much it will cost to rehab the building. That will allow the non-profit to determine if it wants  to continue with this project.

Airport Grant

In other business, the Aldermen accepted two   federal grants  to help pay for clearing the obstacles from expanding Runway Five at Frederick Municipal Airport. One grant from the Federal Aviation Administration totals $4,134,419 and it will be used to clear obstructions from Runway Five. It also includes a corresponding grant from the Maryland Aviation Administration. A second FAA grant of $385,000 and a corresponding grant from the  MAA will be used for design work to extend the runway by 600-feet.

Frederick Municipal Airport Manager Rick Johnson says these grants to expand Runway Five will not mean larger aircraft will begin landing and taking at the local airport. “This grant is just the obstruction removal and some instrument relocation,” he said “We’re not increasing the size of the aircraft coming into this airport.”

Mayor Michael O’Connor said this runway expansion could be an advantage to the city. “The benefit that the longer runway provides is they can fully fuel which, for some of these planes,  is not an option right now,” he said. “Sale of fuel is one of the revenue generators for the airport.”

The Board also approved a contract totaling $3,712,976 for the actual removal work at the airport, and another contract totaling $547,000 for construction administration services.

A third contract totaling $473,000 would be for design work on expanding Runway Five. Johnson says it will not predict any increases in aircraft coming into the local airport in the future. “This particular study is not going tell that. This is strictly the design of the runway extension. It is not a study of projections of aircraft coming in here taking on fuel based on the extra 600-feet,” he said.

He also said the FAA is investing a lot of money into Frederick Municipal Airport. “We are classified as a reliever airport. So the FAA invests money into airports  like Frederick to keep the flight training and the GA {General Aviation} , the smaller aircraft, at an airport like ours as opposed to BWI or Dulles,” he said.

And the extension of the runway could open the southern part of the airport to development for possibly some new hangars.. “The hope is  that the development will bring in the larger jets. And we’re talking 10,000  to 20,000 square foot hangar facilities for these jets which will be based here for either charter service or business use,” he said. “That type of development of the south end opens up that future additional revenue: ground rents. Then you’re looking at the indirect such as the parts, mechanic shops, the businesses on the field.”

He said right now, all hangars are leased at Frederick Municipal Airport., and there is a waiting list of 45 people.


By Kevin McManus