A college campus could be open in downtown Hagerstown by 2004, University of Maryland officials said this week, if they get $500,000 during the next General Assembly session for start-up costs. That's just the beginning of the cash needed to make this facility a success, so local folks should get ready to do whatever it takes to get funding for the project.
Meeting Tuesday at the Frostburg Center, university officials said the $13.3 million needed to renovate the old Baldwin House complex is in the state budget. What hasn't been approved is the half a million dollars needed for initial operating and service costs.
That's not much in a state budget that now tops $21 billion annually, but last week the state comptroller's office announced that the state faces a $1.7 billion deficit over the next two years. How that gap gets closed will depend on who's got the legislative clout to keep their pet projects from getting cut.