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Dairy Shrine plan heard by county

August 10, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners support the idea of a shrine on Sharpsburg Pike honoring the dairy industry, but they're reluctant to give the facility their final blessing.

The County Commissioners said Tuesday they first wanted financial details from the Maryland Dairy Shrine about the facility.

The Maryland Dairy Shrine has proposed building a museum at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike.

The facility would be paid for with private donations, endowments and other contributions, said Matthew Iager, who is on a search committee for the Maryland Dairy Shrine.

While it was founded in 1963 and operated for a time in Frederick County, Md., the shrine has no permanent home.

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"Everything's been kind of sitting still for many years," Iager told the commissioners.

The commissioners asked the shrine to submit financial and business plans for the facility, a time frame for financial pledges and written approval from the University of Maryland.

The county leases the Agricultural Education Center property from the university.

Commissioner James F. Kercheval said without first seeing the financial details, he feared the financial responsibility would "fall back on the county."

"I have to see from the business side of it. That's all," Kercheval said.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said he didn't think the county had the money to support the shrine and that his approval would be contingent upon the business plan for the project.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said that after the Maryland Dairy Shrine submitted the business and financial plans and the time frame for financial pledges that the commissioners "would go from there."

Iager said he didn't think coming up with money for the shrine would be a problem.

"We're going to have plenty of money," Iager said.

Iager said plans for the facility include a museum and convention and visitors center. The shrine hopes to attract 1,000 visitors a year and hand out scholarships.

He said it would be modeled after the National Dairy Shrine in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

"You're going to be very pleased," Iager told the commissioners. "It's going to be very impressive."

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