District Court funding is 'on' again

April 02, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

ANNAPOLIS - A Maryland House of Delegates panel voted Wednesday to keep funding for construction of a new Washington County District Court building in next year's state budget.

The state Senate previously had approved $5.3 million for the courthouse project so construction could begin a year from now.

Earlier this week, some House leaders pushed to have the appropriation cut to $940,000 for the budget year that starts July 1. That would have paid for demolition and other site preparation work.

Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, said that might have been fine because the bulk of the courthouse work is scheduled to be done after July 1, 1999.

But Hecht said there were no guarantees that the project would be funded in future years.

"Then we were in a scary place," Hecht said.

Appropriations Chairman Howard P. Rawlings, D-Baltimore, wrote Hecht a letter confirming that splitting the funding in two years "would potentially impact the timely completion of the much-needed courthouse project."


The House could give final approval to the one-year funding plan this week.

The new District Court is to be built on a 29,280-square-foot lot at 36 W. Antietam St. It will have two courtrooms and space to add a third.

It will replace the existing District Court at 33 W. Washington St.

Some court officials have said the existing quarters are too small, are uncomfortable and lack facilities that modern courthouses have.

The Appropriations Committee also approved funding for two other Washington County projects:

- $250,000 in state bond funds for Girls Inc. in Hagerstown, to be used for construction of a new gymnasium. The state money would have to be matched by funds raised by the organization.

- A $25,000 grant for the Rohrersville Band to use for improvements to its practice facilities.

The two projects previously had been approved by the Senate.

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