The Commissioners of Leonardtown has received a $75,000 grant to construct a sidewalk on the west side of Washington Street from the courthouse to Leonardtown Wharf. There is currently a sidewalk on the opposite side of what is known as the wharf hill.
The grant comes from the state’s Community Legacy Program, which is part of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The commissioners held a public hearing on the proposal last August before filing for the grant. The town commissioners voted 3-2 to proceed with applying for the grant, with council members Leslie Robert and Tom Collier opposing. At the hearing Roberts said, “We’re rushing to meet the deadline without really knowing what we have, what we want and neither the Lawrence Avenue and Washington Street projects will get done.”
Another sidewalk project in town is still in the planning stages. That would extend sidewalks on both sides of Route 245 (Washington Street) from Route 5 to the entrance to Leonard’s Grant and the new Captain Walter Francis Duke Elementary School. The state would construct that sidewalk since that part of Washington Street is owned by the state.
The state’s share is 75 percent and the remaining 25 percent would be split between the town and the county. But St. Mary’s County Director of Public Works and Transportation George Erichsen said at a meeting last year that the county has an available $400,000 pot of money that has been received from the state as the county’s share of highway user revenues. That pot can be tapped for the sidewalk project, meaning no new county money for it.
The project will include a crosswalk somewhere in the vicinity of the Governmental Center or the library, McKay said.
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative will pay for the portion of the sidewalk that runs in front of their Leonardtown office.
That sidewalk project was held up until the town received a Sustainable Communities designation from the state. According to Town Manager Laschelle McKay that designation has now been approved. She told the Bay Net she was not sure when the state monies would be made available for that project.