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Munson tells governor he'll help move center forward

March 22, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - In a face-to-face meeting with Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, Sen. Donald F. Munson reaffirmed that he will work to remove any roadblocks to putting a University System of Maryland education center in downtown Hagerstown.

"This puts in back on track. It's moving forward," said Munson, R-Washington.

Glendening decided in November to put the university center in the former Baldwin House complex downtown, over the objections of community and university leaders.

Two weeks ago, Munson's subcommittee reopened the location issue by requesting that the University System compare the sites that had been considered, including student demand at each location.

Last week, Glendening said he wouldn't build the education center if the study request is formalized in the state's 2001 budget.

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Although the budget language has already passed the Senate, it has been removed in the House of Delegates, said Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington.

Munson has written to legislative leaders, asking the budget conference committee to keep out the language.

He gave a copy of the letter to Glendening during his brief meeting Monday.

Glendening's spokesman described the meeting as "to the point."

"The governor said he wants a clean bill and he appreciates Sen. Munson's efforts," Michael Morrill said.

Munson said he remains committed to ensuring the university center will be successful downtown.

Although the budget language had called for other studies on availability of parking and demolition versus renovation of the Baldwin House, Munson said those won't be in the budget either.

Instead, he's hoping those issues will be addressed by the Greater Hagerstown Committee's University System Open Space Task Force, an advisory group comprised of business leaders.

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