Md. senator opposes state funds for links Middleton calls plan to fund Leonardtown project misuse of money

December 16, 1996|By Debbie M. Price | Debbie M. Price,SUN STAFF

State Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, a southern Maryland Democrat, said last week that he will not agree to spend state money to build a public golf course that has been proposed as part of a private housing development in Leonardtown.

Prince George's County developer Mark Vogel has proposed developing 435 acres with 600 to 650 houses, a hotel and the golf course, which will be built on environmentally sensitive land that is otherwise unsuitable for construction. Vogel's initial proposal called for selling the land for the golf course for $3 million to a nonprofit corporation formed by the city of Leonardtown. The nonprofit corporation, in turn, would obtain funding to build the course by issuing tax-free revenue bonds, according to the early proposal.

"I won't support it," Middleton said Friday. "I've said I think it's a misuse of state money and that we have more overwhelming capital needs around the state."

Robin Guyther, town administrator for Leonardtown, said that after local officials told Vogel not to expect state funding for the golf course, the developer pledged to give the land to the nonprofit corporation.

"Mark has agreed to donate the property to the nonprofit corporation, and he's dropped the idea of asking for a state grant," Guyther said.

Vogel also has not completed the purchase of the land, known as Tudor Hall Farm, Guyther said.

Vogel did not return calls from The Sun last week.

Guyther said that state Sen. Roy P. Dyson, a Democrat who represents St. Mary's and Calvert counties, has told town officials that he, too, is opposed to state funding for a golf course.

Dyson could not be reached for comment Friday.

"It's going to be awfully hard for Mr. Vogel to get capital money if the local delegation is not in favor," Middleton said.

Guyther said that the town leadership plans to vote this week to form the nonprofit corporation so that it may be able to more fully evaluate the financial feasibility of building the course.

Leonardtown officials have said that they support the development concept of Tudor Hall Farm, which they have said could potentially double the size of the town of 1,600 people and provide a much-needed economic boost.

Pub Date: 12/16/96

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