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Letters to governor lobby for campus site

July 29, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Gov. Parris Glendening is being sent letters supporting the Allegheny Power site for the proposed University System of Maryland, Hagerstown center, but he should not expect to receive one from the City of Hagerstown anytime soon.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he does not plan to write or send any letters promoting a campus site.

A Washington County steering committee, on Feb. 1 and June 16, endorsed Allegheny Power's donated site at Friendship Technology Park as the site for the single-building campus.

The campus, scheduled to open in 2002, is expected to cost about $13.4 million.

At the June 16 meeting, University System Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg and Capital Planner Mark Beck urged the panel to pick the Allegheny Power site over the city-offered Baldwin House complex in downtown Hagerstown.

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This week the Washington County Commissioners, four members of the steering committee and the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly sent Glendening letters explaining why they think he should support the steering committee's recommendation.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission sent a similar letter Friday.

The County Commissioners' letter says they unanimously support the Allegheny Power site because of: "1. Excellent accessibility and parking. 2. Safe student environment. 3. Donated land. 4. Room to expand. 5. Desirable location for attracting students and instructors. 6. High visibility."

A letter from steering committee members Wayne E. Alter Jr., Dynamark Security Centers chairman; Alan Noia, Allegheny Power chairman; William J. Reuter, Farmers and Merchants Bank & Trust Co. chairman; and Malcolm D. Davis, president of Davis, Renn and Associates, cites the same basic reasons.

The letters will affect Glendening's decision but he wants an analysis and comparison of the two sites, Michael E. Morrill, a Glendening spokesman, said Friday.

The letter from the local delegation reminds the governor that he supported the Downsville Pike interchange and supported placing fiber-optic cable along I-70 over the next 18 months. Some of that cable would be near the park, ensuring the campus has modern technology, the letter says.

Some steering committee members fear the chancellor won't build a campus in Washington County if it must go downtown. But spokesmen for Glendening and Langenberg say a campus will be built and any differences resolved.

Supporters of the downtown site say it fits the governor's Smart Growth initiative, which encourages downtown revitalization. Those who favor the technology park site say it also is consistent with the Smart Growth initiative.

A committee of state administrators will make a recommendation to the governor in a few months.

Confusion over which site Glendening will pick could delay the project for at least six months, a system spokesman said.

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