Main Street re-bricking approved

April 12, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Liz Atwood contributed to this article.

A bill funding the re-bricking of Main Street in Annapolis, which even its most staunch supporters thought was dead, was revived and passed on the last day of the General Assembly.

The House yesterday compromised and gave the city half of the $2.5 million it requested for the $5 million reconstruction project.

Annapolis will get the other $1.25 million for the project -- which includes laying new brick in the street, reconstructing the road bed, burying utilities and fixing sidewalks -- from a state Department of Transportation trust fund that is used for road reconstruction.

The bill was to be sent back to the Senate before it adjourned last night so it could either concur with the amendment or work out the difference in a conference committee.

"This is something that was crucial for this session," said a relieved and happy Del. John Astle, an Annapolis Democrat. "The work on Main Street needs to be done. It's got deeper problems than you see on the surface."

City Administrator Michael Mallinoff insisted "there were no arms twisted" to get the money.

He said the city ultimately received support from legislators because they are familiar with the condition of the street and the project's importance to the city.

"They see it everyday," he said. "They all realized it was a worthwhile project."

The city, which must match the bond money, has included $2.37 million for the re-bricking in its capital budget.

The project appeared dead last week after the House Appropriations committee agreed with Gov. William Donald Schaefer and dropped the bricking project from its capital bond list. The governor objected to paying for the project with general obligation bonds. Mr. Schaefer also was said to be annoyed because Anne Arundel County refused to contribute.

County Executive Robert R. Neall had steadfastly refused to chip in for the bricks, pointing out that the county is building a $55 million courthouse on Church Circle.

The combination of bond money and transportation operating funds appeared to satisfy Mr. Schaefer.

In other legislative action, a conference committee appointed to iron out differences in a bill transferring $1.2 million in leftover bond money to plan for a new county jail amended the language dealing with the facility's location.

Last week, the House passed an amendment to its capital budget bill that deleted any reference to Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie -- the site chosen last month by the County Council -- in the money transfer.

The conference committee changed the language to read that if the county wants to designate a site other than Ordnance Road, it must do so by Oct. 1.

If the council fails to specify an alternate site by that date, Ordnance Road will become the site.

The change is a defeat for North County legislators, who fought to keep any mention of Ordnance Road out of the funding in the hopes that the new county executive and County Council that will take office in December will reconsider the site.

But Del. W. Ray Huff, a Pasadena Democrat, said other provisions that were added -- such as prohibiting the approval of construction money until radioactive soil at the site is removed -- still leave a hope that the jail site can be changed.

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