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Chamber vows to raise $500,000 for campus site

September 30, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

University System of Maryland Chancellor Donald Langenberg Thursday praised a $500,000 donation drive the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce has launched to help pay for the system's planned Hagerstown center.

"I think that is fabulous and we are very grateful," Langenberg said in a phone interview.

"I look forward to working with them," he said.

The chamber will raise the funds no matter which of two proposed sites for the center Gov. Parris N. Glendening selects, said Jeff Yingling,

One of the sites was donated by Allegheny Power at its Friendship Technology Park and the other is the city-offered Baldwin House Complex in downtown Hagerstown.

Langenberg, the Washington County Commissioners and the Washington County Steering Committee have stated a preference for the Allegheny Power site but supporters of the downtown site say it better fits Glendening's Smart Growth Initiative, which is intended to stop sprawl. Allegheny Power supporters say that site also meets the initiative.

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The chamber has not taken a position on the campus sites, saying that it supports a campus in Washington County, Yingling said.

Glendening toured the sites Sept. 15 and promised to select one by late November.

"The ball is in the governor's court now and we're all waiting," Langenberg said.

He would not speculate on which site he thought the governor would choose. Langenberg has said either site would be good for a campus where students can take junior and senior level classes from system colleges.

The campus at the Allegheny Power site would cost about $14 million, including $1.5 million to buy 20 acres of land adjacent to 20 acres the company has donated, a system spokesman said. Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II has said the downtown site would cost at least $1 million less.

The Washington County Commissioners previously said they would try to get the business community to contribute $500,000 for the project. Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Thursday they were waiting to see which site was selected before they did too much fund-raising.

He and the other commissioners will meet with business leaders to ask them for donations, Snook said.

Chamber members are ready to begin accepting and soliciting donations, Yingling said. Checks may be made out to the University of Maryland Foundation, he said.

Anyone interested in assisting with the fund drive can call the chamber at 739-2045 or Yingling at 791-2600.

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