Town weighs options for donated Berm Road property

by Geoff Fox

The Town of Hancock is in possession of 1.44 acres of land on the north side of the Western Maryland, west of town on Berm Road that was given to the town some time ago.

When the original owner passed away, he agreed to allow the town to put the lot up for sale, with the provision that the town wouldn’t make a money on the sale.

Councilman Leo Murray said if any money is made from the sale, it would become part of the town’s match toward a grant for lighting at one of the fields for girls’ softball.

“And then all we would do is put a plaque up,” Murray said.

Town Manager Joe Gilbert said the only access to the property is through Department of Natural Resources land.

Gilbert said there were plans to put a memorial bench along the trail or in the area, but the DNR, along with the National Park Service, have strong criteria for such benches.

“So that wasn’t going to happen,” he said.

If the town were to “dispose of the property,” Gilbert said that property would have to be deemed as “surplus” through a resolution.

Councilman Tim Smith added the money could also be used as part of a police memorial fund where something could be put in front of the Hancock Police Department with the names of former police officers of the HPD.

Mayor Ralph Salvagno said there’s two parts to the conversation.

The first would be coming to an agreement the property is in fact surplus and serves no purpose to the town.

The property is outside of town limits.

Councilman Tim Boyer suggested using the property as forestry land, but it isn’t large enough for that purpose.

Smith also suggested it could be used as a trade piece between the DNR and town should there be a property closer to town become available the town would need.

“That still does not change as to whether it’s surplus or not,” Salvagno said.

Salvagno added it’s too early to assign a use for an money realized from sale of the land.

“Once that transaction, whatever it might be, has occurred, then we’ll go back and figure out what we’d like to do with the funds,” he said.

The mayor added the town should be sympathetic toward the desire of the original owner and his family.

Officials voted unanimously to sell or transfer the property through the process of sealed bids for no less than $6,000.

A red border shows the outline of a town-owned property along Berm Road that may be sold off.