Area officials react to campus site choice

November 24, 1999

Following are some of the reactions Wednesday to the governor's decision:

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook: "We have accomplished our No. 1 goal in getting it here in the county. I wish the city the best of luck.

Commissioner John L. Schnebly: "My only hope is that he understands the enormity of the financial task in front of him. It is not just about renovating an old building. There are issues about parking, transportation, security and so forth and most importantly, marketing, that come to play with the selection of this site.

We all support efforts to make downtown viable. But you cannot force feed the market."

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II: "I think it's a great opportunity for Washington County. It will do all the things we need to have done for education here ... We need an anchor for downtown and I believe this is one of the anchors for downtown."


Councilman Alfred W. Boyer: "I'm disappointed and excited at the same time. It's nice that somebody with deep pockets is going to come in and help us with the Baldwin House a stumbling block to economic development. The disappointment is for the university reaching its full potential. I question whether 20 years from now we'll look back and feel this was the right choice."

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein: "I think that the governor made the most prudent decision that is consistent with his Smart Growth policy. I am grateful to him that he stuck with his agenda for Smart Growth. It's great for the city and the county and ultimately the best decision for the university of Maryland."

Former Hagerstown Mayor Steven Sager: "I think it's excellent. It's consistent with the city plans, consistent with the governor's Smart Growth initiative and the law carrying it out."

Hagerstown Community College President Norman Shea: "He has made a decision and now it's time for all of us to make things work."

Is he disappointed? "Oh, yeah. I thought it should be out here."

Merle Elliott, president of the Hagerstown/Washington County Industrial Foundation known as CHIEF: "He finally made a decision. I don't necessarily agree it's the best site. But I'd rather have it downtown than not at all."

Del. Robert McKee, R-Washington: "Hopefully, it will be a great success. I still think there were other sites more appropriate. But at this point the decision is made and we'll work to make it a success."

Cathy Ocharzak, co-founder of the Robinwood Homeowners Alliance, a group of 50 residents opposed to the HCC site: "We are pleased with his decision. We were confident the governor would make the best decision for the county. We feel it was a tremendous asset for the revitalization of the downtown area.

Nathan A. Chapman Jr., chairman of University System of Maryland Board of Regents: "I am excited about this development, tremendously excited. Now the real work of planning, creating programs and attracting faculty begins. We look forward to establishing a higher education presence in the heart of Hagerstown."

Midge Teahan, Allegheny Energy spokeswoman: "We're delighted it's coming to Washington County. We would have valued having it at the technology park but we are pleased it's coming to Washington County.

Commissioner William J. Wivell: "I'm elated that the Governor has chosen Washington County as the site for a campus. My fear from the beginning was that if we began bickering about locations, that we would potentially lose the campus to another county. My only hope is that the site was selected for all of the right reasons, and not political ones. I still believe that the Allegheny site offered opportunities for economic development and the HCC site offered tremendous opportunity for academic excellence.

Frostburg University President Catharine Gira: "It was his decision to make. Whatever happened it was going to be good for Washington County ... We'll move into whatever facility is the central one."

Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington: "The location isn't as important as the fact that Washington County will get a tremendous boost with the campus. I want to refocus on what a tremendous win this is for the county ... It was truly the community that brought this forward and kept it on the forefront."

Snook, Bruchey, Shea, Elliott, McKee and Gira were on the steering committee that twice endorsed the Allegheny Power site.

- Compiled by Scott Butki and Dan Kulin

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