Funding request for center dropped

March 20, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

A committee supporting the creation of a conference center in the Annapolis area has withdrawn its request for state funding, saying the plan lacks political support.

However, the group will continue to press for local funding, said Peggy Wall, executive director of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel Conference and Visitors Bureau.

"I think we have support in the City Council and County Council," Ms. Wall said.

Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins and County Executive Robert R. Neall wrote to state lawmakers earlier this month asking them to support the bill in the legislature and pledging $500,000 in study money, pending approvals from the city and county councils.

Mr. Neall plans to include a request for the county's share in the county budget, which will be introduced May 1.

The City Council was to have considered the request at its last meeting, but Mr. Hopkins withdrew the legislation, saying he did not have enough votes for it to pass.

A number of City Council members have expressed reservations about the plan and called for a public hearing.

Mr. Hopkins said he continues to support the idea, but wants to find a way to bring the aldermen on board before he reintroduces the funding proposal.

"I don't want to risk doing something that important with a slim vote," he said.

The conference center committee had planned to request $1 million in engineering and design money from the state. The money would have been contingent on the selection of a site.

Two locations are being considered: 11 acres known as the Menke-Phipps tract at Taylor Avenue and West Street, and a 28-acre parcel owned by the Anne Arundel Medical Center on the south side of Jennifer Road near Annapolis Mall.

The conference center committee voted Thursday to ask Mr. Neall to request that the legislation proposing state funding be -- withdrawn.

"The committee believes that there is not sufficient political support for the legislation in the Anne Arundel County delegation," said Jules Smith, president of the Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Annapolis Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Democrat representing Ward 5, said he believed the City Council will be reluctant to

approve design money without a commitment from the state.

"Unless there is revised interest from the state, for all practical purposes the conference center is dead," he said.

"I don't think we can afford to put money into something that may or may not be there."

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