Transfer of property from BOE comes from cost-cutting closure
From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — The transfer of the ownership of Kitzmiller Elementary School in Garrett County to the county’s commissioners is on the state Board of Public Works agenda for Wednesday.
Also listed are the acquisition of a 256-acre parcel of land owned by the Cassellman Basin Coal Company with $550,000 in Project Open Spaces funds, along with several other local items.
The transfer of the school from the Garrett County Board of Education to the county comes after the school was closed May 30, following the school board’s April vote to do so in a cost-cutting measure.
The county voted later to allow Garrett County Community Action Committee to continue to use the former Kitzmiller school for Head Start during the current school year.
Approval of the transfer of the seven-acre site is recommended by The Interagency Committee on School Construction.
“As a condition of approval, the Garrett County government shall obtain approval from the Board of Public Works before transferring any right, title or interest to any portion of the facility,” the agenda said.
The coal company land acquisition will be the first for the new Cunningham Swamp Wildlife Management Area, according to the Board of Public Works. The land is ecologically important, according to board documents.
“The property supports several rare and listed species, including Wood horsetail (only one other is recorded in Maryland), bristly sarsaparilla (Aralia hispida), Nashville warbler, alder flycatcher and silver-bordered fritillary.
“The property’s large size, wetland community quality, species diversity and the number of rare species present make it an extremely high protection priority for the state,” a summary of the property’s environmental importance said.
The land will be protected from mining and surface discharges through agreements with the U.S. government, which owns most of the mineral rights under the land.
“Additionally, the MDE permitting process would prevent surface mining on Cunningham Swamp for any reserved coal rights,” the board’s agenda said.
Also on the agenda is the addition of 14 acres to complete a multi-parcel easement in the Mountain Ridge Rural Legacy Area in Allegany County. The land includes a significant golden eagle flyway. The full area includes some 30,640-acres.
The agenda also includes a $23,000 grant for Constitution Park pool upgrades and $14,000 for renovation of basketball courts at Frostburg Community Park.
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