The Board of Garrett County Commissioners recently voted to purchase a property located at 32 Outfitters Way, McHenry, Maryland for a new Emergency Operations Center.
The 10,746 square foot building is currently operated as a hardware store located next to the Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
A purchase price of $999,064.00 is based upon two certified appraisals. Of that amount, $800,000 will be funded through state bonds and will not need to be repaid.
Garrett County is the only county in the state of Maryland that does not have an established Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to handle full-scale activation or provide backup 911 communications capabilities. The County has been working to solve this problem since 2015.
An EOC offers the strategies and coordination for public safety and health agencies in the midst of complex issues such as severe weather, accidents, shootings, or health crises. The current EOC is housed in a temporary office trailer and in a conference room at the Garrett County Airport.
Estimates to construct a new facility ranged from $3.6 to over $5 million. This opportunity to purchase an existing building is estimated to save over $1 million.
“In times, like we’re facing today, it is critical we have the resources to plan and respond to emergency situations. With the purchase of this facility the County will able to house all emergency management activities in one location,” said Paul Edwards, Chairman of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners. “This location is ideal; it is centrally located in the county and is in proximity to the fairgrounds and Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Department if we need to activate additional resources.”
It is estimated that the EOC could be operational by January 2021.