Despite the glowing accounts and rosy projections from the hard-sell briefings for the downtown hotel project, I see a heavy investment of public money in the project — taxpayer money that should not be used in this manner.
I reviewed the proposal documents on the city’s website and see that taxpayers will be spending $19 million to (1) buy the land from the Randall family, (2) build 104 on-site parking spaces for the hotel, and (3) build a 24,000-square-foot conference center. In addition, the public will build parking deck No. 6 for 650 spaces for $15.5 million. All of this so the Plamondon brothers can build a hotel on the old Frederick News-Post site. The whole project, as proposed, smacks of corporate welfare for the Plamondons and the Randalls.
One has to ask why such a project is even necessary when the Holiday Inn recently announced hotel and conference center expansion plans at their Francis Scott Key Mall site. Why not let the Randall family sell the old News-Post site on the open market and let private money develop the site within current zoning and development requirements? If it’s such a good idea, a free-market economy should decide the worth of the land and the feasibility of any development.
The resulting tax revenue and positive economic impact will still be felt by the community, without spending taxpayer dollars to do so.