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Baldwin site seen as final

November 26, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

Washington County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz has a question to Gov. Parris N. Glendening about his campus site decision announced Wednesday: "Is that your final answer?"

Taking a page from the popular television quiz show, "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" Swartz suggested Friday that Glendening "use a lifeline" before making his decision. On the show, contestants can get help from the audience or call a friend before answering a question.

But Glendening's decision to build the University System of Maryland campus in the Baldwin House complex is indeed his final answer, a spokesman said Friday.

Just because Glendening is the governor, though, doesn't mean the County Commissioners have to accept his decision, Swartz said.

"I don't think we need to roll over and play dead," Swartz said. "I think he's made a mistake."

Swartz said he thinks the steering committee which twice endorsed the Allegheny Power site should meet again as soon as possible to see if there are any alternatives to accepting the governor's decision. Swartz is co-chairman of the steering committee with Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

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The local delegation of the Maryland General Assembly should also meet, he said.

Snook said he needs to talk to Swartz before deciding if he will support a meeting being called.

The County Commissioners, the local delegation of the Maryland General Assembly and other steering committee members moved their support in recent weeks to the Hagerstown Community College site, saying it more closely fits Glendening's Smart Growth initiative.

While Swartz isn't ready to give up the fight, other steering committee members say they will accept the governor's decision even though it conflicts with their recommendations.

"I think the governor has made his final decision," said committee member Wayne Alter Jr. The community needs to get behind that choice, he said.

Alter said he will still honor his April pledge to give $100,000 to the construction of the campus downtown even though he was one of the most vocal proponents of the HCC site.

The city now bears the responsibility to do whatever is necessary to make this project work, Alter said.

"The most important thing right now is that the center's coming," said committee member William Reuter. "He has made it (the decision) and we need to march forward with the decision at this time."

There is nothing to be gained from doing anything other than accepting his decision, Reuter said.

"Intelligent people disagree on things all the time," he added.

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