County wants Ritchie water system

March 15, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - If the sale of the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base goes through, Washington County doesn't want the property's water system going with it.

Two Washington County Commissioners said Monday that the system, which serves the base, should belong to the county.

PenMar Development Corp. Chairman George G.B. Griffin said during a Monday morning meeting that the business buying the base, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), wouldn't have a problem turning the system over to the county.

"We need the capacity," Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said Monday by phone.

Wivell said the county had to buy water from Pennsylvania to service that area during a past drought. Owning the water system might prevent that from happening again.


The Fort Ritchie system has a 300,000-gallon capacity, Wivell said.

"We figure it's better to be in the county's hands than being owned privately," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Monday afternoon.

Snook sent the PenMar Development Corp. a letter earlier this month stating the county wants the system.

PenMar was created by the state in 1997 to redevelop the former base, which the Army shut down in 1998.

In July, PenMar agreed to sell the 638-acre base to Corporate COPT of Columbia, Md., effective after the Army conveys the property to PenMar.

A federal court injunction is blocking that transfer.

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