Commissioners approve purchase of Sideling Hill maintenance facility

by Geoff Fox

Washington County Commissioners approved the purchase of the Sideling Hill Highway Maintenance Facility west of Hancock during their February 28 meeting.

Commissioners held a public hearing during the meeting but did not have any comments from the public.

The notice for the public hearing and intent to acquire the Sideling Hill property was advertised three times – February 7, February 14, and February 21 – in the Herald- Mail.

The move was to approve for full-take, fee-simple property acquisition for the property, approve ordinances approving the purchase price, and to authorize the execution of the necessary documentation to finalize the acquisitions.

The vote was unanimous for the purchase at a cost of $14,029.98 for the 2.26-acre property located at 2801 National Pike.

By making the purchase of the facility, it would allow county road crews better access to salt and chemicals needed during the winter to the western parts of the county.

It would also allow for storage and staging, as well as a satellite facility for employees working in the western part of Washington County.

Commissioners first took up the discussion during their January 31 meeting.

The main county maintenance facility for the western part of the county is in Big Pool for an area that stretches from St. Paul Road near Clear Spring to the Allegany County line.

County officials said the trip would be a 40-mile drive and around an hour round trip. Having the facility at Sideling Hill, it would shorten that trip.

County Commissioner Wayne Keefer said he appreciated commissioners’ foresight into seeing the need as that part of the county has roads that aren’t contiguous to other county roads.

To reach some of those roads, you have to travel into Allegany County and into Pennsylvania.

This was also part of the argument a few years ago when the Hancock community was fighting to keep Hancock High School open.