by Lisa Tome
It may seem that things are moving at a snail's pace, but things are looking up for the turtles.
Jeff Thorpe, Plans Reviewer for the Cecil County Department of Permits and Inspections, has reviewed the plans for the Turtle Refuge at Port Deposit's historic Tome Gas House. The plans meet code.
The turtle refuge in the gas house will feature exhibit space, a research area, and handicapped accessible bathrooms.
"It's on the state registry. As far as building codes, there's not a whole lot I can do with it. We can't make changes. We just have to work with what we have," said Thorpe.
Now, a meeting, which is expected to move the plan for a recreational and educational center at the Tome Gas House forward, is imminent. Thorpe said preliminary approvals are needed to obtain grant money for the project.
"It's moving forward. We are really excited about something happening with that building," said Port Deposit Mayor Wayne Tome, Sr. "We're going to put a shovel in the ground soon. The waterfront is cleaned up and we're ready to start."
Mayor Tome said that the Maryland Department of the Environment will determine when work can start. They keep an eye on things likes fish spawn which can impact when work can be done.
"It's going to change the landscape down there. It should be a decent hub and spin off into economic development," said Tome. "People will be coming to town for the right reasons."