Why is it such a struggle to get state funds allocated to the proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick, a project that is widely accepted as being vital to the economic health of our city? We are getting tired of repeating this.

Gov. Larry Hogan has sent his 2020 budget to the General Assembly, and it includes significant spending on projects of direct benefit to the Frederick community. But once again this year, the governor set aside no money for the downtown hotel.

Delegate Carol Krimm (D-District 3A), chair of the county’s legislative delegation, told News-Post reporter Samantha Hogan that she was disappointed by the governor’s failure to provide money but that she would continue to support the project and work to secure funding for it.

Frederick city officials vowed to continue working with the local delegation to get the money so that this vital city project can finally get completed. It has languished in limbo for years now, with the state nickel-and-diming us.

“Five million dollars has already been allocated by the General Assembly, and we need to work through the process to get that money through the Board of Public Works to get that approved.” Mayor Michael O’Connor told our reporter.

Last year, the capital budget was amended late in the session to include $5 million for land acquisition and work on the hotel site. Richard Griffin, the city’s director of economic development, said then that the project was possible with the $5 million, but the preferred design included $11 million more for additional public parking. Without the $11 million, the extra parking was up in the air, he said.

Plamondon Hospitality Partners, the city’s chosen developer, pledged in 2017 that any taxpayer funds provided by the city, Frederick County and the state would not go for construction of the actual building of the hotel or conference center. Instead, the public money will be used to pay for public infrastructure such as parking, road, utility, streetscape and creek area improvements.

Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D-District 3A) told our reporter that she prefers to call the hotel the Public Infrastructure Project, which better reflects the current proposal to use state funds for parking.

“I believe that this change of funding warrants a new conversation, particularly since there are three new members of the delegation,” Lewis Young wrote in an email.

The changed composition of the delegation may improve the prospects for the state to eventually kick in more money.

We continue to believe that primary roadblock to state funding is the opposition from Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4), who says he supports the construction of the hotel, but does not want the state to help pay for it. The Republican governor has no incentive to override the Republican senator.

We also believe Hough is sadly misguided in his opposition to state aid. It is incumbent on the state to support local projects that have a beneficial impact on the state economy. Nothing can do more to help Frederick and the state than getting this hotel project done.

Our economy is doing well right now, thankfully, despite the partial shutdown of the federal government. But only a fool could believe that the decade-long expansion can last forever. At some point there will be a downturn. The time to make investments in our city is now, when we can still afford it.

Projects in the city are usually more expensive than those on undeveloped land in the county. Government support for infrastructure is the right thing to do.

Hough told our reporter that he would support giving the project a fair hearing in front of the delegation. He said proponents have been meeting with members of the Frederick County delegation to discuss the project, but they have not yet come in front of the entire delegation to request their support.

Hough should do more than listen. He should rethink his opposition and give his backing to the plans.

(65) comments

gary4books

I do know that people have paid lobbist in Anapolis to oppose the idea of a hotel and sometimes wonder if there is profit in Frederick to oppose the hotel. Not a word about the Hotel on Byte Drive. And its reason to be is the new crossover at Christopher's Crossing. Can everyone in the discussion say they are not a paid agent? just curious? My apology to all who are earnest and real. They have a right to their views.

gabrielshorn2013

Gary, we have been through this previously. The folks opposed to taxpayer funding are not paid lobbyists. We are taxpayers who object to taxpayers funding a private business venture. The hotel on Byte Drive took advantage of an opportunity that developed AFTER the County and State decided to build the crossover at Christopher's Crossing and to eliminate the deathtrap at Hayward Blvd. You keep insisting that the hotel needs financial assistance to become a reality. You make our point for us, thanks. If the hotel were financially viable it would not need taxpayer funding. Actually, investors would be lining up for a piece of the pie. I would assume those businesses who would derive a benefit of a hotel would also want to invest. From what I have seen, they aren't either.

KellyAlzan

How bout this:

A compromise. The lot to develop on has been decided. The design has been decided. The cost has been estimate. Ok, Here is the compromise: Start OVER. Yes, start over. Conduct a NATIONWIDE request for developers. This time, no with hanky-panky. No steering the request to the Plamandoon Brothers, whom don't have the money. A fair and square request. The request should make it clear, in writing, that preference will be given to a developer than can prove ability to self-fund the entire gig.

See, I have not seen or heard anything where anyone objects to a hotel itself. The objection is to the use of public money. The objection is to the fact that the city carefully tailored the entire gig to go to the Plamandoon Brothers. This is why people are so opposed. Its not and never was a fair and balanced process.

That's the compromise. Start Over. And be FAIR. And yes, I want the credit for this idea. I want a FNP reporter to come to my place and interview me after a new developer has been selected.

I swear to god, the construction would be 50% complete today had the city not played dirty. They are their own hold up with the project; hiring a developer with no cash.

Kelly Q. Alzan
Lead Commentor

KellyAlzan

Two facts: The city is their own enemy in getting the hotel built and operating. No one but theirselves to blame. And the county Sheriff is solely responsible for giving an illegal immigrant a huge lottery day because his lack of education backfired on him. I'm not sure whats a bigger feat - the sheriff winning re-election, or on illegal immigrant with a deportation order winning a lawsuit precipitated solely by the sheriff.

Come on people, get it together.

Two political failures happening right now within the county.

sofanna

Many citizens of Frederick City and County oppose the hotel conference altogether. I, for one, completely oppose it.

KellyAlzan

Totally Understand. Frederick city has some incredible historic architecture. Charm. Why would anyone ever dream of putting such a hotel downtown?

DickD

Yes, but if they were using their own money, would you care?

KellyAlzan

Its not that I wouldn't care. As I probably would. But if they were sing their own money I would not be as aware as in tune.

gary4books

For what good reason(s)?

gary4books

Piffle. If this plan were good, we would have a hotel now.

CDReid

Let Plamondon and the Randalls set up a GoFundMe account for this. That way people who support it can donate to it and taxpayer dollars won't be used. Easy enough.

FCPS-Principal

Why is it such a struggle to get state funds allocated to the proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick? The taxpayers are sick of socialism for business only.

jagman

"Why is it such a struggle to get state funds allocated to the proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick, a project that is widely accepted as being vital to the economic health of our city? We are getting tired of repeating this."

It is not "widely accepted" by anyone outside the Plamondon/Randall complex and those local politicians that are in their pocket. How about this: We the taxpayers of Frederick County and greater Maryland are tired of repeating that we do not want it paid for with taxpayer funds...at any level.
As has been said numerous times: the Randalls and Plamondons can pay for this out of their own funds.

Got it?

CDReid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] jag!

sofanna

I thought this hotel project started with the Randalls and Plamondons with 3 other investors, who backed out. The infrastructure necessary to support this, if it happens, SHOULD be paid for by the developers not the taxpayers. Some people just have to pit the City against the County. What a shame that Frederick City and County are no longer one. I wonder what the next excuse will be. This County DOES NOT NEED this project. It's all about greed and power.

nbouqu1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

randoparker

The quality of life has been enhanced at College Park, Maryland because of their new hotel. It's an investment, not an expense. True, investments don't guarantee a return. An owner should pay for the parking garage. Perhaps an arrangement where the (oh gosh) parking tax could return our investment? I don't know. We need this. Frederick needs this. 2019, not 2025.

randoparker

The city could add a stipulation that the first floor of the garage should serve as corporate office space, bringing more real estate opportunities to downtown.

dabittle

This plea shows, once more and in a most embarrassing way, a complete and utter lack of objectivity by the FNP editorial board members! This "newspaper" is shameful indeed! If this hotel boondoggle represented a viable and/or profitable business plan, the Randalls and Plamondons would most assuredly not be begging and pleading for taxpayers to foot the bill. As it stands, however, it is not, and these families use of PUBLIC dollars for private profit is unacceptable--we cry foul!

gary4books

It is possible to dislike a hotel downtown without ascribing ill motives to those who do favor it. As it is, elected people from the City like the idea. But it is not necessary to like a hotel. Just to hear all opinions and move on.

dabittle

In what way, Gary, do you stand to gain from such PUBLIC investments? Do you own property downtown? Do you have family who own property in that section of town? Are you in any way affiliated with those you DO stand to gain? What’s your angle?

gary4books

It will be a courtesy for our visitors to give them a place to stay and see more of the sights. Our local businesses will gain more customers. I have a home on Mill Island and am retied. I gain nothing except to help a very lively and lovely downtown.

joelp77440

Most people and business favor the hotel. Yours is one opinion, not the only opinion.

gabrielshorn2013

Could you please cite your source(s) of that information? Maybe the downtown businesses who may derive a benefit without any investment by them may favor it. But move outside of that city area, and into the County (whose taxes are being misused for this boondoggle), and I think you will find that we have a different opinion.

KellyAlzan

As well as Marylanders from Cumberland to leaonardtown.

KellyAlzan

5 to 14 plus million dollars that could be used to put metal detectors in our schools. Let that sink in.

KellyAlzan

Funny how the same people suppprt this dumb hotel are the same people opposed to giving trump money to build a wall. Irony.

gary4books

The distinction is not that all spending is good or bad, but that some spending is productive - a good investment or it is not. The wall all across the border is not needed. we have already fenced the points where people cross in numbers. I doubt that you need a hotel room. But many of our visitors would stay over rather than drive home at night and it would be a courtesy to them. Local shops would have more customers.
How is that dumb?

KellyAlzan

I’m sorry Gary, but you and I have two different mentalities. Our corporation was built without relying on public monies or tax dollars.

gary4books

Good for you. I am sure your work is good and makes a profit. Many things we need (like roads) do not pay do directly or quickly.

FCPS-Principal

Very unlikely. It would be the only one in the state.

matthewboh

Is it possible to create "Reader Picks" and "FNP Picks" so I don't have to read the same 5 commenters that are usually off the deep end?

KellyAlzan

Thank you Mr Hough, keep up the good work fighting by this hotel. Your work is greatly appreciated and you are making a difference.

KellyAlzan

The roadblock is the city itself.

This “all so important” hotel construction would easily be 50% completed today has the city allowed a developer with their own funds to do it. This hotel would have a grand opening date schedule for this spring of the city had not steered this project to solely one developer, the plamandoon brothers.

The city is their own thorn in their side with this project.

Also, has anyone paused for a moment and taken in the architecture of historic downtown Frederick? It’s beautiful and stunning. Why would anyone even think to ruin such historic charm with a new monstrosity and ugly parking decks and more vehicular traffic? It’s backwards thinking.

drewboy44

Got it. So we have an opportunity to enhance downtown and all the business around the hotel and people are complaining. The money is not going to the hotel directly but for projects that the community will get use of. But hey let's keep using our tax money to on social issues that have not worked over the past 50 years.

CDReid

Exactly the kind of commentary I would expect from one of the two parties who stand to profit the most from this proposed project. Hey FNP, if you're getting tired of repeating this, then stop doing it. We're getting tired of hearing it.

DickD

SMH We agree on something, CD. Obviously, one of us is wrong, I hope it is neither of us. [beam]

CDReid

See Dick, there are times we can agree to agree. [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

gabrielshorn2013

"We are getting tired of repeating this."

Let's rephrase this as to your true meaning, shall we? How about "Look, we are tired of telling you people!" OF ALL THE ARROGANCE!!! We, the taxpayers whose pockets you are trying to pick are getting tired of telling YOU that NO TAXPAYER DOLLARS SHOULD GO INTO THIS BOONDOGGLE!!! Did you hear it this time? Government should not be picking winners and losers in the business realm. The developers should be shouldering the entire cost of this project, instead of waiting for the taxpayer funded honeypot. If the developers are falling short, how about adding more private investors with whom they would share the profits...and the risk? If this enterprise was such a good investment, we, the taxpayers, are sure that investors would be beating a path to your door. As far as I can tell, that hasn't happened. What does that tell you?

DickD

This is one time I have to agree with Hough. If this hotel is so important, let the Randalls and Plamondons finance it.

sofanna

Agree

Dwasserba

"We are getting tired of repeating this." And some readers are tired of reading editorial support for it. Where's the disclaimer about how the building was the home of the fnp? Maybe you should be neutral?

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Deb!

MD1756

How about more spending on existing roads, bridges, sewer systems, etc. that need repair or upgrades (in other words spend more on core government responsibilities) before investing in something with a questionable rate of return to the tax payers. I suspect taxpayers would get a better value for their money if the funds were invested rather than spent on this project.

Frayou

The only problem with spending tax money to benefit the private sectors or other entities for what ever the cause is when do you say no. Everybody has their hand out and demands their share of the Tax Pot when one entity receives some of the Tax Pot and another does not. Then you have politians who use the tax giveaways to buy votes. When do we say no? Maryland is noted for high taxes. States have to balance their budgets. Pension Funds going bankrupt. Cities going bankrupt due to mismanagement & tax giveaways. The Federal Deficit is 22 trillion & growing. When do we say no and turn off the spicket? Maryland Government chose to grant money to needed civil projects The downtown Hotel Conference Center is not a priority. Carrol Creek Project got it funding many years ago. It sat idle for years until the economy improved for the area and there was a demand for businesses & services. It has gradually developed and continues to develop. The word is out for downtown. Business are investing downtown. If a downtown Hotel & Conference Center were profitable it would have been or will get built.

francesca_easa

Great points and spot on..

gary4books

Some may want "Laissez-faire (/ˌlɛseɪˈfɛər/; French: [lɛsefɛʁ] ( listen); from French: laissez faire, lit. 'let do') is an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government intervention such as regulation, privileges, tariffs and subsidies." But it is not working for a downtown hotel and we do not have a hotel for our visitors to stay in after a meal and perhaps a few drinks. It will be a courtesy to visitors and help local businesses with more customers. It is a pity that political divisions have set Frederick County Republicans against Frederick City Democrats. But the division makes no sense. I read reasons to not have a hotel and you ought to see what they are. Make up your mind. I support government spending that serves a need and also helps our local businesses.

gabrielshorn2013

Gary, if the local businesses see a potential benefit, why are THEY not ponying up and investing in this project themselves?

gary4books

The pay back, in my opinion, will be greater services to our visitors and our local businesses and not in some cash profit. That makes it necessary to "prime the pump" with start up funds. If there was enough incentive to get it started we would have a hotel now. Some services are a public benefit, but need public spending to get started.

KellyAlzan

gary, do you own a business that employs 5 or more?

StrengthofLiberty

We should all applaud the public relations professional who wrote this class of bravado in service to swindling our public treasuries so the downtown party set can have a hotel, 'public' parking. Does 'public' in this business model mean that if 'public' treasury dollars are spent to build this grand vision of cultural wonder - a parking lot - that those of us who legally live in Frederick/Frederick County can park for free - as fully paid shareholders? Or do the profits funnel into sanctuary - overdoes programs - hiring more police to manage the approved growing numbers of breweries, distilleries and restaurants patron bar hopping. No wait - of does the PR "Bar Crawl" make more sense. With the approval of more alcohol dispensaries downtown - the economic development being crafted is clear: gluttony. Tell me - is that medical alcohol - or just peddling addiction in the name of profit? In 'our' public name - btw - thanks for the laugh on your title for this ... unimaginative extension of your husbands brick corridor kl-y.

FrederickFan

Good article. Michael Hough simply doesn't want the Dems to be successful. He is a total partisan.

KellyAlzan

LOL

DickD

But the Blaine gang was all for spending money on useless projects. So, how is it the Dems? Oh, it was Blaine's father that tried to get that money. Okay, but do you think that is typical of all Democrats? I hope not.

KMRD1

Again, no taxpayers money for the hotel, or even a underground parking garage that Jan wants to build. Let the Randall’s and Plamondons build it themselves. They have plenty of money. We can’t even get streets paved in Frederick. Maybe Plamondon can blacktop the 500 block of Logan Street.

gary4books

Why make it so personal. You want to pick winners and losers in Business?

DickD

You think using our tax dollars isn't picking winners and losers, Gary. All the others building or buying using their own financial means.

Burgessdr

None of your tax dollars are being used. The only taxes used are those paid by the hotel and its guests

KellyAlzan

Donald , all the other businesses are generating tax revenue for roads schools police fire and ambulance.

gabrielshorn2013

Gary, personal? Are they not the developers of record? If so, it's a truthful statement. In your support of this project, aren't you supporting the government picking winners and losers in business? That is exactly what is happening here, and I am amazed that you don't seem to comprehend that.

gary4books

I comprehend it, but I am not bothered that some can do a public service and get compensation. I am not angry when others do well. I am puzzled when I read "Anyone but the Jones."

KellyAlzan

Gary, after reading 2500 of your comments on this topic (downtown hotel), you are puzzled by more than this.

DickD

What bothers me about Gary's remarks is he is very intelligent and likable. So, why is he going off on a tangent supporting this fiasco?

KellyAlzan

I agree, Dick. I don’t understand why Gary isn’t bothered that the city strategically steered the project to The Plamondon Brithers. Why isn’t Gary bothered by the lack of a national search for a developer? Why isn’t Gary upset with some of the dirty maneuvers from Ron young?

Any other issue, Gary is spot on. But not this. It’s almost as if maybe just maybe he is distantly related to someone involved?

nbouqu1

Or why Gary insists on ignoring the plethora of scholarship on projects like this being black holes for money. And it's not just publicly funded hotels. It's also things like stadiums and in the most extreme cases hosting the Olympics. The amount of money invested never produces the promised return for the cities.

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