The $5 million in state funding initially planned for a downtown Frederick hotel can still be used by city and county officials, Sen. Ron Young told some city of Frederick aldermen and Mayor Michael O’Connor at a joint meeting Wednesday.

Young (D-Frederick) said after the meeting he wants $500,000 to go toward the veterans center, where a groundbreaking recently took place off Monocacy Boulevard in an extension of Riverside Tech Park in Frederick.

Young added that the money could go toward a variety of other city and county projects, but it needs to be spent this coming session, and officials need to have projects that are “shovel-ready” in order to receive funding.

Because the funding was earmarked for Frederick County, it’s likely the county gets some order of preference, but it needs to be appropriated in next year’s capital budget, said Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll). Hough added that he “had no reason to believe” the money would not come back to Frederick for other projects, but it could be redirected to another county.

However, the list of capital needs in the county is lengthy.

City and state officials discussed the importance of combating the opioid crisis, and the need for more state funding to do so. Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) said it’s an issue he’s constantly heard about from families in his district since the session ended earlier this year.

Infrastructure and schools was also a substantial part of the group’s discussion. Although schools fall under the county’s jurisdiction, several aldermen said they hear about school issues often in the city.

“Schools are a huge issue for our city residents — overcrowded schools especially,” Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said.

Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) noted that the school construction bill will be the first one introduced in the House of Delegates this coming session, and urged the mayor and aldermen to stay in touch with the delegation in case they need letters of support or city officials to testify in Annapolis.

Other city issues discussed included the Lake Linganore dredging project, as the city is paying roughly half of the cost, $18 million. O’Connor said Alderman Roger Wilson — who was not present at Wednesday’s meeting — would like to see state funding to keep the dredging project going, because the equipment and personnel required to complete it are expensive.

It would save the city money if more sediment is removed now versus later, O’Connor added.

Other issues city and state officials discussed were the relocation of the Frederick police headquarters, and restoration of highway user revenue, which is used for road restoration projects in municipalities statewide.

O’Connor said the aldermen will probably vote on a new location for the police headquarters in about a month.

Hough said this result is a much better scenario than the funding being released for the downtown Frederick hotel and conference center.

“For someone who has never wanted that project to begin with, because I think it benefits just one private entity, this is a much better scenario,” Hough said.

Hough said he supported money going to projects like the veterans center, and “real public infrastructure projects” that provide a public good, such as drug rehabilitation or helping veterans.

City editor Allen Etzler contributed to this report.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(19) comments

StrengthofLiberty

On that dredging 'project' - who is paying the other half of this $18,000,000.00 billing? Was this a man-made lake, created as part of engineering for what is now Lake Linganore sprawl housing? Who was or is the 'developer'? And - to our county schools: What is that budget up to now? Nearly $1,000,000,000.00? PR says less, but ceaselessly needing more. With the nation discussing and deploying facial recognition in schools, airports - how much does that technology implementation cost? It is clear to see why if we want to celebrate Frederick 275 - we have to pay for it ourselves - just like these roads, schools, roads, schools, roads, schools ... Sorry - infrastructure. PS: The veterns deserve $1,000,000.00 for their center. Imagine that in the chronicles of our Frederick 275. Outward proof of our ethical, and moral compass heading true.

llrowse

Oh, by all means, let’s not give the schools a dollar more. There couldn’t be anything gained by keeping up with new developments in all subject areas, technology, and student safety. School obviously was not important to you. Thankfully, there are people that recognize the importance of education, and the dangers of an uneducated population.

llrowse

I haven’t been following this situation. Does this mean that downtown Frederick won’t be cursed with an unneeded hotel? Will downtown maintain its charm, rather than becoming Gaithersburg or Rockville?

KellyAlzan

It’s starting to look like the developer and the city are starting to see that they ain’t gettin tax payer money from the state.

wscjr

Frederick County's Municipalities would agree and fully support restoration of Highway User Revenue, which is and would be used for road restoration projects in Municipalities Countywide.

gabrielshorn2013

For the love of Pete Ron, let this boondoggle go! Nobody but you, the Plamondons, the Randall's, and Gary want this! Put the money towards schools and infrastructure where it is really needed!

Moon otter

Put it to the schools it benefits a lot more than private entity or single public entity.

elymus43

Do better in the election......................

gary4books

I say that we should listen to Senator Young and his suggestions for this money.

KellyAlzan

We know you do. And no one agrees with you.

Dwasserba

"Courtesy" toward visitors or "courtesy" toward schoolchildren and concerned parents, hmmmm

gabrielshorn2013

👍👍👍 Deb!

gary4books

This is not an "either/or" decision. We can do both or neither.

gary4books

How kind.

gary4books

Kelly - No veterans center?

gabrielshorn2013

Although you may not believe or understand it Gary, there is not a limitless source of funding to satiate every want. We must prioritize and fund accordingly. Think Pareto chart. Once the need priorities are funded, we can move on to the wants.

Veterans Center?

KellyAlzan

I think the recent influx of veterans this and veterans that is becoming over-hyped. Enlisting in the military is a choice. Protecting the schools from mass shootings is not a choice. I'm sorry, but I feel the safety and well being of our youth to be a more critical priority, and I feel that our blessed veterans agree with me.

KellyAlzan

$5 million dollars. That would outfit many county schools with metal detectors

public-redux

But not plastic detectors for 3D printed handguns.

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