ANNAPOLIS – Maryland’s Senate passed a capital budget that includes $16 million for the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center by a vote of 46-1 on Friday.
The lone dissenting vote came from Frederick County Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, who offered two final efforts to remove the funding by shifting money set aside for the conference center project to county public school construction or the Frederick Rescue Mission.
Both amendments failed along largely party-line votes.
Frederick Sen. Ron Young, D-District 3, argued in favor of the hotel funding on the floor of the Senate Friday morning and by the afternoon was the subject of a campaign by the state Republican party to kill the funding in negotiations aimed at resolving differences between the House and Senate versions of the capital budget bill. Conference center funding was not included in the House capital budget.
“Backroom deals were cut to include this funding in the first place, which shouldn’t be happening,” an update on the state party website read. “It’s unacceptable that Senator Young chose to support a special interest project instead of reducing overcrowding in Frederick County Schools.”
But Young found support on the floor of the Senate earlier in the day.
“I think all of us know, from his time as mayor, from his time in the Senate, he is a nationally recognized leader in urban redevelopment,” said Sen. James C. Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s County, who supports the conference center funding. “And what they have done in the city of Frederick is an inspiration.”
With the passage of the capital budget in the Senate, a conference committee of senators and delegates is expected to start meeting next week to iron out differences between the chambers’ versions of the bills.
The proposed hotel and conference center property at 200 and 212 E. Patrick St. is owned by a business entity formed by members of the Randall family. The Randall family also owns the parent company of The Frederick News-Post.