Cascade Committee director to resign

June 09, 2005|by TARA REILLY

CASCADE - The outspoken leader of a Cascade-area citizens group is stepping down from the post effective June 24.

Karl Weissenbach, director of the Cascade Committee, announced his resignation Tuesday.

He said Wednesday night that he will become the deputy director of the Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kan., which is part of the National Archives Presidential Libraries.

Weissenbach is the executive director of the Nixon Presidential Materials, also part of the National Archives system.

Weissenbach, who has been head of the committee since January 2001, has been vocal about various issues affecting the Cascade area, including the future of the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base and actions of the PenMar Development Corp.

He's spoken out publicly against the proposed sale of the base to Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) of Columbia, Md.

Weissenbach said he thought PenMar should have sought competitive bids and an appraisal of the property before agreeing to sell it COPT for $9 million.


The price will drop to $5 million if COPT creates 1,400 jobs over nine years.

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

Weissenbach also is pushing to keep COPT from developing historic properties at the base. He said he plans to follow the issue from Kansas.

He called the designated historic area, known as the Camp Ritchie Historic District, a "national treasure."

"My position is that the Camp Ritchie Historic District is not a local issue," Weissenbach said. "It's a national issue."

In his announcement, Weissenbach said he thinks the time is right for Cascade residents to support the area becoming an incorporated town.

He said being incorporated would give residents more say over what happens in the Cascade area and would help the community.

"The problem is, because Cascade is not incorporated, people in Cascade do not control what happens in Cascade," Weissenbach said in the statement. "The question is: Do we want to be in charge of our destiny as we face difficult growth and redevelopment issues or do we want to be ruled by five Washington County Commissioners ... and Corporate Office Properties Trust ... the putative buyer of Fort Ritchie?"

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