PenMar director addresses community about future of the former Fort Ritchie base

July 31, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Some of the 200 people who rent duplexes and townhouses at the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base gathered Tuesday night to question the property's new owners about the site's future.
By Roxann Miller/Reporter

CASCADE — The new owners of the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base squashed a few rumors Tuesday and fielded questions from some of the 200 people who rent duplexes and town houses on the base.

More than 60 people, most of them base residents, packed the community center on the base to listen as Doris J. Nipps, PenMar Devlopment Corp.’s executive director, assured them that there is no danger of being evicted.

Several attendees said rumors in the community were rampant, with the biggest being that PenMar is closing housing on the base.

“We will continue leasing the residential units and I want to assure you that we intend to keep housing open,” Nipps said. “And there is no danger of you having to move out of your homes.”

Corporate Office Properties Trust, or COPT, returned ownership of the Army base to PenMar, the original owner, when a lawsuit held up major development of the property.


PenMar initially took ownership of the 591-acre property when the base closed in 1998. PenMar transferred the land to COPT in 2006.

Nipps said the rent will not increase and leases will remain in effect until they expire.

She said Barrack Avenue opened to traffic Monday and the speed limit through the property is 15 mph.
Security is being assessed, as is the pet policy, Nipps said.

Debbie Naugle, who has lived on the base since 2005, left the meeting optimistic.

She is glad PenMar is back because she felt COPT’s hands were tied legally.

“I would like to see this as a self-sufficient community because if we could get to that point, I think we would be a neat, little community,” Naugle said. “This is a family. We know our neighbors.”

Richard Dougan has been a resident for 10 years.

“I’d like to see what their plans are for the redevelopment,” he said.

When the base was shut down, it affected the local economy, Dougan said.

“I would like to see the lawsuit that has delayed development be thrown out. It’s been keeping all redevelopment on hold for years,” Dougan said.

Since news of PenMar’s ownership was released, Nipps said businesses have shown a renewed interest in the former base.

“PenMar is here as long as it will take to do something very positive with the property,” Nipps said.

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