Frederick leaders consider city's role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

City, county officials back regional transportation plan

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/31/2013
Residents should speak up for easier commutes and road and bridge repairs, according to Frederick city and county leaders. At a joint news conference Tuesday, Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith and city Alderwoman Carol Krimm praised a drafted transportation priorities plan that is under development by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Almost all major transportation projects need the council's blessing, so it's important to make sure the group's long-range plans reflect Frederick's needs, said Smith and Krimm. The Frederick area has significant infrastructure issues, the officials said. "We are actually behind the curve," Smith said.

Mayor: City has done more with less

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/30/2013
Mayor Randy McClement characterized his administration Monday as one that has managed to do more with less. McClement used his State of the City address as an opportunity to highlight his administration’s work on maintaining Frederick’s fiscal health, pushing forward road and public work projects, and helping spur commercial development — all during the recession. The mayor, whose first term ends this year, focused on the city’s current state, rather than giving specifics for what should happen in the future. “It was important to me that we not reduce service levels or increase taxes, but be more creative and do more with less,” he said. “I feel that with the passage of the fiscal year 2014 budget, the aldermen and I have done just that.” In the speech at City Hall, McClement addressed ongoing issues such as the second phase of Carroll Creek Linear Park, the city’s unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits, the downtown hotel and conference center project, and blighted and vacant properties.

Something vs. nothing

Frederick News Post
07/30/2013
Without any context to help sort this quote out, some readers would assume it came from the recent debate about whether to permit Wal-Mart to occupy the deserted Frederick Towne Mall space. In this case, however, the comment came from downtown Frederick resident Truby LaGarde, and the “something” she was referring is a chain establishment. As with the Golden Mile Wal-Mart, the big question is whether more chains would, on balance, be a good or bad thing for downtown Frederick’s central business district. Many residents and business owners appear to be somewhat conflicted about additional chains setting up shop downtown.

City decides Wal-Mart better than nothing

Frederick News Post
07/24/2013
Our hope is that a new Wal-Mart will spur economic activity on the Golden Mile and help revitalize that section of the city — that it will be good for other businesses on the strip, as opposed to making things more difficult for them. We also hope that the plans for the property will hew as closely to the letter and spirit of the small-area plan as possible. We encourage city officials to press the future occupant for any and all contributions it can make in support of this plan. It would be a real tragedy if this decision turned out badly over time. That’s possible, but we do believe it was made in good faith and after much debate and soul-searching by city officials whose alternative was basically to continue to do nothing and hope for the best.

Frederick residents mixed on mall's decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

Frederick residents mixed on mall’s decided fate

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/20/2013
When envisioning the future of the abandoned Frederick Towne Mall site on U.S. 40, residents focused on opportunity. They imagined a place where they could live, work and play. They saw themselves walking down winding sidewalks to mom-and-pop shops, like in Bowie or Rockville. Some may not have pictured what the land may now become — home to Frederick's third Wal-Mart. Residents have mixed thoughts about the Board of Aldermen's unanimous decision Thursday to rezone the property from mixed use to general commercial, which will allow developer Rockwood Capital to continue drafting plans for a Wal-Mart on the site.

City makes way for Wal-Mart on Frederick Towne Mall site

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/19/2013
The stage is set for a third Wal-Mart in Frederick. After hearing more than an hour of impassioned public comment Thursday, the city's Board of Aldermen voted 5-0 to rezone the Frederick Towne Mall property. The rezoning will allow Rockwood Capital, which owns the 20 acres on U.S. 40, to move forward with a proposal to bulldoze the nearly vacant mall and build a Wal-Mart. The developers will need to bring forward a site plan before finalizing its plan.

Clagett Signs on Yellow Cabs Stirs Controversy

Frederick Politics
George Wenschhof
07/16/2013
Over the weekend, Democratic candidate for mayor; Galen Clagett signs were spotted atop yellow cabs in Frederick. It did not take long for comments to begin in what promises to be a hotly contested race for mayor of The City of Frederick. Community activist Kimberly Mellon first reported on the Clagett signs with a photo on her Facebook page “One Frederick, Many Voices”. When I asked her to share her concerns, she sent me the following: “I am appalled by what appears at first glance to be Galen Clagett's campaign staff's ignorance to Interstate Mobile Advertising's (IMA) Taxi Top Ads used for sponsoring Blaine Young's rhetoric on his self-named WFMD Show.” Blaine Young is Republican President of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners and host of a daily radio show. Mellon added “I'm left pondering Clagett’s intentions. Are Clagett's and Young's stars aligned with developer’s interests? Mellon mentioned an article in The Gazette dated April 25, 2013 that said in part “The bill, introduced by Del. Galen Clagett (D-Dist. 3A) of Frederick, will prevent opponents from asking the Frederick County Board of Appeals to overturn any of the long-term pacts — called Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreements, or DRRAs — that can be in effect for a quarter of a century.”

Stroll and the City

Frederick Magazine
07/10/2013
Frederick City’s planning office works to make sure residents and visitors can traipse through the city with ease. Deputy Director of Planning Joe Adkins has a pedometer clipped to his belt and estimates that at least a half dozen of his staff regularly walk or bike to city hall. Downtown, with its tree-lined side streets and historic buildings to admire, speaks for itself as a great place to walk, as does Baker Park and Carroll Creek Linear Park. But Adkins says plans are moving forward with projects such as a pathway from the Golden Mile to Downtown and one connecting Worman’s Mill to the MARC Station on East Street, following the railroad tracks. He sounds almost gleeful when he talks about the idea of using the temporary pedestrian bridge on Motter Avenue, “if we can get it at a good price,” as a permanent link over Md. 26. Walkers grooving with their way of getting around tend to evangelize. On a recent rainy Sunday, about 60 people delayed their dinners to fill the seats in City Hall to listen to Washington, D.C., architect and city planner Jeff Speck talk about Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, the title of his newest book. Speck is a huge fan of Frederick and if certain pieces of his family’s life hadn’t fallen into place he would now be calling the place home. “Frederick is a good example of a city that has great bones. Frederick may not be as dense or as large as other cities, but at its heart it performs extremely well,” he says.

Mayoral candidates say city needs to act on big issues

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/09/2013
Candidates for mayor in this year’s election have their disagreements, but there is one thing they agree upon — there needs to be more movement on the city’s big issues. Blighted and vacant properties, Hargett Farm, Carroll Creek redevelopment, Frederick Towne Mall, and plans for a hotel conference center downtown were all discussed Monday night at the first forum for mayoral candidates. Six of the seven residents running faced off in the forum, hosted by Frederick Gorilla and WFMD radio at The Faux School. The only candidate who did not participate was Carol A. Hirsch. Hirsch is deaf and was not able to obtain an interpreter in time.

Frederick: A Bicycle-Friendly Community

Frederick News Post
William Smith
07/09/2013
In 2010, Frederick mayor Randy McClement, with the assistance of city planner Tim Davis and the newly-created Frederick Bicycle Coalition, formed what was then termed the “Mayor’s Ad-hoc Bicycle Committee”. Numerous people from the area were interviewed for positions on the committee, which was to be composed of people who lived in the city or owned businesses here and were interested and/or possessed knowledge of bicycling. Its first goal was to obtain “Bicycle-Friendly Community” (BFC) status as granted by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB).

Frederick’s race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Frederick's race begins in earnest

Frederick News Post
07/08/2013
The field is locked down and -- if you’ll forgive us the cliché -- the race to lead the city of Frederick for the next four years is on. The primary has a swathe of candidates -- 21 in total. All told, 12 and one independent will go through to the General Election on Nov. 5. It’s inspiring, given Independence Day was less than a week ago, that so many want to stand up and be counted and do their civic duty. The primary is Sept. 10, so party voters have only two months to familiarize themselves with a lot of political wannabes; and those wannabes, those of them who aren’t incumbents with a degree of name recognition, will have their work cut out raising their profiles with voters. All 21 will be scrambling for a cut of the pathetic number of people who generally come out for the city election. Barely one in five of Frederick’s registered voters came to the polls for the Sept. 15, 2009, primary.

Monocacy, U.S. 15 interchange is funded. Now what?

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/08/2013
Now that the city has secured funding for the long-planned Monocacy Boulevard-U.S. 15 interchange, Frederick is trying to set new priorities. City planner Tim Davis said that the item had been the No. 1 transportation item since he started the position 11 years ago. Maryland's Transportation Act set aside $82 million for the interchange during the last General Assembly session. Davis met with the Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to discuss the city's Highway Needs Inventory and set new goals. The inventory is a requirement of local governments to request state funding for road projects. The list does not guarantee funding, but it's a primary step to secure it.

Prepping For The Primaries – The Faces Behind Frederick’s Political Landscape

Frederick Gorilla
Emily Holland
07/03/2013
The filing deadline for candidates in Frederick’s primary election has passed, and Fredericktonians will be faced with more than a dozen names of candidates. For the aspiring-to-be-informed citizen, there’s a lot of homework involved. But don’t be afraid just yet: Frederick Gorilla is making the task easier with a preliminary, informative kick start guide to the candidates and the election itself: The Lay of the Land: Six candidates are vying for the mayor’s seat in the primaries, with a breakdown of three Republicans, two Democrats and one unaffiliated. The competition includes an unusual mix: two former mayors, one incumbent, two current aldermen and one current delegate. Seven Republicans and eight Democrats are in the race for five aldermen seats. Eleven of those candidates have never held an elected office, while two are former aldermen and an additional two are incumbents.

Six former or current politicians, one resident run for Frederick mayor

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/03/2013
One familiar face and one newcomer to Frederick's political scene filed to run for mayor Tuesday, the last day for candidates to file in this year's election. Alderwoman Shelley Aloi (R) and resident Carol A. Hirsch (D) will have their names on the Sept. 10 primary election ballots. Aloi announced her bid in front of family and friends on the steps of City Hall. Hirsch slipped into City Hall to file without a public announcement. Hirsch, who lives on Madison Street, has never run for office in Frederick. She did not respond Tuesday to an email request for comment. She will take on District 3A Delegate Galen Clagett and Alderwoman Karen Young in the Democratic primary. Aloi, 52, will challenge Mayor Randy McClement and former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger in the primary. Former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty is running unaffiliated and will compete only in the general election Nov. 5.

Two More File for Alderman as City of Frederick Candidate Deadline Nears

Frederick Politics
George Wenschhof
06/29/2013
With The City of Frederick candidate July 2 filing deadline only days away, two more filed for the board of alderman. Former, one term alderman, Republican Alan Imhoff and Democrat Kevin Greene made their entry into the race official on Friday. Imhoff’s entry makes it six Republican candidates, ensuring a contested primary for Republican voters, who will choose five to move on to the General election. Greene is the eighth Democratic candidate to file for alderman. At the time of publication, Geene had not responded to my inquiry as to why he was running for office.

Two former mayors now in running for Frederick's top spot

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
06/28/2013
Frederick’s last two mayors and current mayor are now in the running to lead the city for the next four years. Jeff Holtzinger, who was mayor from 2005 to 2009, filed Wednesday to run against Mayor Randy McClement in the Sept. 10 Republican primary election. Jennifer Dougherty, who was mayor before Holtzinger, is also in the running. She has registered as an unaffiliated candidate and will compete in the general election Nov. 5. State Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, and Alderwoman Karen Young have also filed to run for mayor. They will square off in a Democratic primary. Candidates have until July 2 to file for the primary.

Two former mayors now in running for Frederick’s top spot

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
06/28/2013
Frederick’s last two mayors and current mayor are now in the running to lead the city for the next four years. Jeff Holtzinger, who was mayor from 2005 to 2009, filed Wednesday to run against Mayor Randy McClement in the Sept. 10 Republican primary election. Jennifer Dougherty, who was mayor before Holtzinger, is also in the running. She has registered as an unaffiliated candidate and will compete in the general election Nov. 5. State Delegate Galen Clagett, D-District 3A, and Alderwoman Karen Young have also filed to run for mayor. They will square off in a Democratic primary. Candidates have until July 2 to file for the primary.