I was wrong! It’s happened before, it will happen again. For the past six years, I have predicted that the total cost of the City’s west-side recreational Taj Mahal — aka Hargett Farm — would be $100 million. Last week, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen seemed to embrace a $98.5 million development plan coupled with a net annual operating loss of more than $ 500,000.

Missing from the calculations were the land costs of $18 million (plus interest), cost of the parcel given to the BoE for a school site, lost water and sewer taps fees and lost property taxes.

The elected officials said they would continue to look for private and governmental partners. We know the YMCA is building a much-needed facility in the southern part of the County. We know the County government is very tight on funds — if they see a bit of available money, I hope they try to stem the tide of losing teachers to bigger bucks in neighboring counties. Private investors may see this as a good deal, but the SportsPlex may have the market cornered. The other limiting factor is the stated projected loss of more than $ 500,000 a year. That’s a hard one for businesses to swallow.

Now I read that the Board of Education is concerned that the proposed park development raises concerns about children’s safety and traffic at the school site.

City officials are bending over backwards to add to the high quality of life we enjoy in Frederick. Having a top-notch facility is a nice idea. The problem seems to be they forget we have to pay for it…and I am sure about that!

Jennifer Dougherty


(29) comments


Another thing. The cost could be reduced by nixing the pool. In that respect, I agree with the author - if there is a YMCA facility nearby, there is no need for a pool at the proposed park.


I would like to see the city and county lower its tax rates for its residents instead of forking out so much money for another unwanted park that we just don't need. we have enough parks.


I greatly respect Jennifer Dougherty. She's a former mayor of the city so I think she knows what she is talking about. But what is her vision for Frederick city? What capital projects would she like to "pay for"? We have a thriving downtown that is clearly being marketed regionally as a destination for shopping and restaurants. Her business is and will continue to be a benfitiary of this prosperity. But ask anyone who has school aged children about the sports facilities in the city and you will here the same refrain. We need more. There is a joke around town, if you want to make a million dollars in Frederick, build a gym, a field and a pool.


You know you can rent fields and gyms from FCPS right? Our gym at my school in MoCo gets rented out by groups on a weekly basis. Huge source of revenue for MCPS. Can't help you with the pool but there are a couple in the city already. Find a friend who lives in an apartment complex.

We all have very many wonderful ideas and we all think we "know what we're talking about." The problem is that many of our wonderful ideas require other people's money to make them become reality. At a time when we desperately need 2 or 3 new schools in this county I can't believe we're talking about 100 million for a park! Priorities people!


She doesn't know what she is talking about, that is why she wasn't re-elected nor will ever hold another office in this area.


I'm sure the FNP will spend the next (19) days crafting an editorial promoting this park, like they did for the proposed downtown hotel


Is she the former mayor? Wasn't there a mayor or alderperson with that name? Sorry, before my time here.


Yup. Former mayor.


She had a lot of problems.


She was nothing but problems.


They forget we have to pay for it? No Jen, the problem is they know we have to pay for it. That is how the public sector works. No need to show a profit, it doesn't exist, only in the private sector is that a factor.

garden whimsey

Don't you understand why we desperately need this west end money pit that will lose $500,000 per year? It is to take your mind off the east end money pit that loses $250,00 per year....the golf course!


If a park cost $250,000 a year and served x thousand people they would divide it out and say it cost y dollars to serve each person. The cost are used to show how much the benefits cost per person. That makes sense. So when a golf course cost so much, ask how many people used it - and that is a better way to evaluate the cost.


You forgot the hotel and convention center to fatten the wallets of the Randalls and Plamondons.


You mean the property they already own?


Must be a lot of vitriol and hate messaging with the FNP deleting comments at this site, every other comment. with no one describing the County's use of more bond referendums and the artful form of using TIF tax strategies and eventual rise in real estate taxes to pay these debts off, over the next 25 years.

And what "QUALITY of LIFE in Frederick is Ms. Dougherty referring to? Has anyone seen it laying around as they pass by or through Frederick? Why are taxes so high in Frederick and have been for decades? What are the chances that Maryland State government is going to pick up some of this $100 million price tag. And why are private resources so scarce, or are they at their limit of borrowing on the open market...as with the proposed Hotel and Conference Center that our State legislators approved with out much if any input from the citizens of Frederick? Is a vote for TRUMP going to make any difference in the way we do things around here or is 4 bankruptcies no longer of any relevance in the way we live our lives over the next four years?


Not sure why they deleted my post. It fully met FNPs posting guidelines. The gist of it is that if the YMCA facility is "badly needed", then so is the park. The classic tactic of bringing up the safety of children does not work in this case since the hundreds or thousands of housing units that would replace it would bring an equal amount of traffic. I also commented that the article was possibly sour grapes due to some pet project of the author not being funded.


I don't know why they were deleted either. Perhaps the Randalls don't have an ownership-interest in the "Y."


yet another waste of taxpayer money ...more debt to saddle our children and grandchildren with ...sign of the times; most do not live within their means starting with govt which loves to spend other folks money...


The list of reasons why this should not occur is practically limitless. If indeed there is $100 million laying around, there are much better uses for it. If the analysis says there will be a $500K operating loss per year, that is probably the minimum.


In fact there is $100M laying around. It is funding Gov. Hogan has slated for yet another study of I-270 (throwing it away). How about the state using the money to develop this land and make it a "state park"? What we do not need is another study of I-270.


Excuse my ignorance but isn't Hargett Farm near the golf course and/or Summer's farm on the corner of alt. 40 and Mt. Phillip? (I assume that it is because people keep referring to Butterfly lane and a new school in the Hillcrest area.) Both of those are scheduled for residential/commercial development right? Isn't that going to be a ridiculous amount of development going on simultaneously? (Not even mentioning the redevelopment of the Frederick Towne Mall.) It just seems crazy to me to be trying to do all of this at once. Granted the area needs redevelopment but this just seems like a recipe for disaster and misery for that area.


and about the "redevelopment of the Fredericktowne Mall. How's that coming along anyway. "Groundbreaking" 4 months ago but nothing since? HVAC issues could have should have been resolved by now. Yet nothing. Anyone? Mayor Randy,? GMA guy? the silence is deafening.

Comment deleted.

The Board of Ed made the comment about safety. And this writer is/was an athlete, soooooo....

Comment deleted.

You may be the one with sour grapes, or, you just don't read.

The letter writer did not states she has any concerns for the safety of children. She wrote that she understand the BOE is concerns.


We need a new 4000 seat stadium like we need another WalMart.


And I saw the pictures of the new Walmart. Great photography. Need it or not, here it is.

Comment deleted.

And those hundreds or thousands of housing units would overcrowd the local schools yet again.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!