Every time Richard Griffin talks about the hotel and conference center coming to downtown Frederick, he makes sure to reiterate one thing: The city’s contribution to the project will be limited.
The city will use some of the property tax the hotel generates once it is operating to pay for the construction of parts of the hotel that will serve the public, said Griffin, the city of Frederick’s deputy director of economic development. It won’t use other city revenue, and it won’t pay for parts of the project that aren’t to the public benefit, he said again Wednesday as the Board of Aldermen discussed financing for the project.
That means the city will contribute to building the hotel’s parking garage and streetscape, which will be used by the public.
The city may also contribute to the portions of the conference center that the developer wouldn’t have constructed if it weren’t for the city’s request, but that is being debated by the city’s elected officials. The city has asked in its request for qualifications for the project that the developer build a 200-room hotel with 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Studies have shown that the model leaves a funding gap of about $10 million that will be filled by the city, local and state government grants.
A few of the city aldermen asked if the conference center portion of the project would truly serve the public.
Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said she wasn’t sure.
Griffin reminded the aldermen a few times that the business community has indicated that a conference center of that size is a crucial piece of the project. By developing the conference center, the city will attract a business and events crowd downtown it does not currently have, ultimately generating more revenue for the city, he said.
Planning commission makes way for school, fire station
The city’s Planning Commission is recommending to the mayor and board two rezonings that will make way for two future Frederick County projects — a firehouse and a school.
The fire station will eventually be built on the east side of Walter Martz Road, just south of the Tuscarora community. The station won’t be built in the near future, said Matt Davis, city planner. It isn’t yet listed in the county’s Capital Improvement Program, which includes programs to receive funding by 2020.
The school will be built on the Hargett Farm, on Butterfly Lane, to serve west Frederick. The Board of Education plans to construct the school in a few years.
Officials to talk Sharpe’s Flowers, electronic ads at bus stations
The aldermen will review a plan from a developer at their workshop at 3 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall that will replace Sharpe’s Flowers on Motter Avenue with a four-story building with senior living apartments and commercial space.
Some people living in the area are upset with certain elements of the project, such as the building height, design, setback and parking. The Planning Commission placed conditions on the project to try to ease the concerns when recommending the plan to the mayor and board.
But that’s not all. The officials will also talk about allowing electronic advertisements on the inside of bus shelters.
Send notes about your city government to Jen Fifield at email@example.com.