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Bruchey says Munson needs campus attitude change

March 15, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE and LAURA ERNDEs

State Sen. Donald F. Munson is backing off his earlier support for a study questioning the downtown location of the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center.

Munson said Tuesday he supports the downtown site, a point on which he was challenged by Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

At his annual State of the City address Tuesday, Bruchey said Munson needs to change his attitude about the education center for the project to succeed.

"It's very important that we all reach out to our delegation, to our senator, to make sure this project happens," Bruchey told nearly 200 people at the Ramada Inn and Convention Center.

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To bring the University of Maryland center downtown, a plan is needed and for the plan to succeed, money is needed, Bruchey said.

"And to get the money you have to shut Munson up," said Bruchey, who received a loud round of applause.

Munson, R-Washington, said he backs Gov. Parris Glendening's decision to put the university center downtown.

"It is my feeling that the decision has been made with regard to where it's going to go. That's downtown Hagerstown. That's our only option as far as I can tell at this point. I'm prepared to support that option fully," Munson said.

In recent weeks, Munson has been critical of whether the university can succeed downtown. Frostburg State University is losing $100,000 a year in Public Square.

Munson maintained that a site study requested by Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, D-Charles, would not delay the project.

Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, said she's been working in the House Appropriations Committee to get the study taken out of the budget.

If there's a perception the study could hurt the university, Munson said he won't fight efforts to remove it from the budget, which is being reviewed this week by the Senate.

"Sometimes perception is reality," said Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

The study would compare all the sites that were considered before Glendening picked the Baldwin House complex downtown and a report would be submitted to the legislature by Oct. 1. The report is to include an estimate of student demand at each site.

Whether the study is done or not, the university is slated to get $697,000 for planning in the 2001 budget.

Bruchey said later Tuesday that he was glad to hear Munson's response.

During his more than one-hour address, Bruchey barely touched on the University System of Maryland center.

It came up when someone asked whether Munson's actions against the education center going downtown would affect the effort to get a national Civil War museum downtown.

Bruchey didn't directly answer the question about the museum, but launched into a brief talk about politics.

"Politics is a funny thing. The more you anger somebody the less likely you're going to get what you want, whether it's good or not," Bruchey said.

Then he said Munson's stance on the downtown site had "irked the governor."

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