Bates High, health and arts centers favored for funding

February 11, 1996|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel delegates to the General Assembly will ask the state for $4.75 million this year to finance six county projects, but only three projects will receive money, say sources within the delegation.

The leading candidates are:

* Wiley H. Bates High School. County officials are seeking $2 million in state matching money to turn the former blacks-only Annapolis high school -- a relic of racial segregation -- into a seniors' apartment and recreation complex.

* Owensville Primary Care Community Medical Center. The health center, serving a rural community in South County, needs $200,000 for general renovation.

*Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. The county is seeking $250,000 with which to repair the Annapolis cultural center.

The 13-member delegation has been meeting Fridays to discuss the projects and will vote in the coming weeks on which to endorse. Legislation requesting state bond proceeds has been submitted for each one.

In private, however, discussions among delegates have focused which projects are the most ready and deserving of the limited money.

Three projects have less support, according to delegate sources:

* Holland Point water plant. Del. George W. Owings III, a Chesapeake Beach Democrat, is requesting $1.7 million to build the plant at the southern tip of the county.

* Kunta Kinte Memorial. Del. Phillip D. Bissett, an Edgewater Republican, is seeking $375,000 for an Annapolis memorial honoring the African slave.

* London Town Publik House and Gardens. Three delegates are asking for $200,000 to restore the landmark and to build a visitor center.

Delegates expect the county to get roughly 10 percent of the state's $20 million Legislative Initiatives fund, the same as in previous years.

On Friday, county officials asked delegates to support the Bates High School restoration, a $15 million project that has attracted both public and private attention.

The County Council will decide in the coming months whether to contribute $2 million toward the work, which it is asking the state to match. The balance would come from private sources.

The delegation appears to be ready to endorse the bill. The campaign to restore Bates, a 64-year-old building on Smithville Road, has been proceeding in fits and starts since 1988.

"Certainly we've waited long enough," said Del. Virginia P. Clagett, a West River Democrat. "I have a feeling this is the year for Bates."

Other delegates aren't convinced the project warrants such a large chunk of limited state largess.

"Bates might not get the full amount," said Del. Marsha G. Perry, a Crofton Democrat. "The pie could be sliced in different ways."

And a real fight seems to be shaping up over the Holland Point water plant, which would be built along with a new sewer treatment center in the South County community.

"With all due respect, I've never asked the delegation for anything that benefits the 7,000 county residents I represent," Mr. Owings said.

"I'd like to think this is my time."

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