The slow pace of the development of the city’s proposed downtown hotel and conference center has resulted in the loss of another state grant.

Longtime hotel opponent Peter Samuel first reported last week that the deadline had passed for the project partners to spend a $500,000 grant form the Department of Housing and Community Development.

But this is no surprise. The deadline to spend the money, which the project was promised in 2016, was June 30. Department officials had said that if a memorandum of understanding between the department, the city, Maryland Historical Trust and hotel developers Plamondon Hospital Partners mapping out mitigation efforts for the historic elements of the site was not signed by then, the money would go away. They had said that a deadline extension — which would have been the second for the grant — was possible several months ago, though. City officials were hoping that would be the case when the deadline came with the agreement still unsigned, but that did not happen.

Sara Luell, the director of communications for the Department of Housing and Community Development, confirmed via email on Thursday that the grant had expired because the deadline came up. She also said city official can “still apply for future competitive funding rounds.”

Mayor Michael O’Connor said Wednesday he is optimistic that as the project moves forward into development, it will receive another grant.

“When we’re ready to move forward with something more shovel-ready … we could get another chance to access those funds,” he said.

O’Connor also expressed frustration with the time it is taking to develop the project.

“The scope [of the project] hasn’t changed,” he said. “It’s more a function of timing and the time it has taken with the delegation and the politics in Annapolis. It has slowed everything down. We thought we would spend [the money] in the time we had.”

The grant is not the first one the project has lost. Last year, the deadline for a different $350,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development also came up and the project ended up losing the money.

The public-private multimillion-dollar hotel and conference center is planned for construction at 200-212 East Patrick St. Plamondon is set to pay for the lion’s share of the costs, while the remainder is slated to come from the city, Frederick County and the state.

The Board of Aldermen approved an updated memorandum of agreement with the developers last month. The document maps out the public and private cost share estimates, and development details for the project.

Nice butt, bring it over here

No, that is not a pickup line.

It is the slogan on a set of new receptacles attached to trash cans and sign poles around downtown, the latest effort to cut down on the number of discarded cigarette butts found in the public right-of-way.

According to a news release issued last week, the Downtown Frederick Partnership recently received a Keep America Beautiful grant to purchase 30 cigarette butt receptacles from a recycling company called TerraCycle. Members of the Department of Public Works put them up along Market and Patrick streets, locations that Partnership officials “strategically” chose because they are transition points for pedestrians throughout downtown. Once the receptacles are filled, the butts will be recycled through TerraCycle’s free recycling program.

The receptacles are officials’ response to an effort that city resident Phil LeBlanc spearheaded with a number of Neighborhood Advisory Council 11 volunteers that resulted in the collection of more than 28,000 cigarette butts within a select downtown radius between Feb. 21 and April 17.

The butts are set for display inside a plastic container at the Carroll Creek trellis during the August first Saturday along with informational signage about the problems cigarette litter creates downtown. The event, which members of the NAC 11 litter committee and the city’s sustainability committee are helping put on with the Partnership, is set for 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4.

Follow Mallory

Panuska on Twitter:

@MalloryPanuska

(23) comments

bicep42

The staggering and ongoing incompetence associated with this questionable project is stunning.

jerseygrl42

Typical commentary...its always someone else's fault....this is an ugly play for taxpayer money to enrich two families and all one ever reads is that the plamondons will pay the "lions share".....its their hotel and they should pay ALL the costs or they don't build it ,Mallory....

gary4books

We know there is paid opposition in Annapolis to the hotel and suspect money is used in Frederick to oppose the hotel. That may explain much of the delay and loss of funds. Why else would so many write in to go against our local business community and local political figures? Follow the money.

KellyAlzan

(Sigh.....)

gary4books

Kelly. I know you are not paid. Your comments are way too original. it is just that we disagree. Happens all the time in life.

gabrielshorn2013

Sorry Gary, nobody has paid me for my opposition to this boondoggle, and I can’t imagine that, given the demonstrated political spectrum of the commenters in opposition on this forum, that any of them are paid either. Private ventures should not use taxpayer funding, irrespective of the wishes of the business community. If those business people believe that they will derive a benefit, then they should invest their money, not ours.

gary4books

I do believe you. But I also see a place for public financing to support projects that can help the local businesses. Just as the sixty two million cross over makes Byte Drive a place for a hotel, some funding makes a questionable investment in a downtown hotel a reasonable investment. If the project did not need help, we would have a hotel now. But we do not. So where do we go to get one?

gary4books

Sure thing? Try not to be so silly. Few have ever said a hotel downtown was or is a "sure thing" or even a money maker. Most expect it to be a service to visitors who want to stay over. If they drive to the city limits for a hotel, most will go ahead and drive home. Local shops will benefit from more visitors and over night stays. That is the point. it helps local businesses. If it were a "sure thing" we would have a ahotel now. Some support is needed to get the hotel started. Then it will be on its own to stay in business. Opposition has settled down to fear of bed bugs and statements just as hard to believe are serious to promote Harper's Ferry over Frederick.

KellyAlzan

Harpers Ferry has far more appeal to the DC area clientele than a man made concrete creek.

Harpers Ferry does not have random shootings every Friday or Saturday night.

richardlyons

While I oppose taxpayer funding of the hotel your hyperbolic comment serves no purpose.

KellyAlzan

Many disagree with your response

gary4books

Stick to the "bed bugs are coming" line. It is more convincing.

jthompson

Keep an eye on the campaign finance activities of the DH&CC proponents in the Governor's race. Last time, the proponents backed the wrong horse, raising and donating tens of thousands of dollars in political campaign contributions to then-candidate Hogans' opponent on the assumption that Hogan would lose.

petersamuel

If as Ms Panuska reports the loss of the $500k state grant on June 30 was “no surprise” then why does it appear in the official budget as a source of funds for the project in the MOU (Appendix B, p31) presented to the Mayor & Board of Aldermen June 21. Incompetence? Deceit? Or a bit of each? This whole preposterous project is based on little else.

pappyjoe

On the money KA! they would have to put 2 mil (city) for that location to get a nibble.

KellyAlzan

Want the hotel built faster????? Then find an investor who is self funded. Its that simple.

Crusty Frederick Man 64

Does anyone know what the number is of our tax dollars spent on this project so far ? That could be another article.

Citizen Notes: City losing taxpayers money year after year on hotel project.

Burgessdr

A maximum of $250,000. That is all the city has set aside. Whether it all has been spent or not is another question. One doesnt need to do an article, because the $250K has been the budget for years. Just need to read.

gabrielshorn2013

Let’s keep hoping for more delays to give all those investors eager to get in on this “sure thing” a chance to step up! Oh wait...

pappyjoe

Further more the D.O.H.A.C. probably evaluated the infrastructure of the roads and figured they would eventually have to turn the hotel into a low income complex. Infrastructure first, population growth 2nd.

pappyjoe

[thumbup] to both [lol]

elymus43

This shows that the State is smarter than the city....

Crusty Frederick Man 64

That’s because the State understands basic math. [whistling]

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