State, utility still negotiating on Deep Creek Lake purchase More talks set for Friday as initial deadline passes

September 30, 1998|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

The Glendening administration and a New Jersey-based power company will not reach an agreement on Maryland's intended purchase of Deep Creek Lake by today's deadline, a state official said yesterday.

But talks -- described as "good-faith negotiations" -- are continuing, said R. Stevens Cassard Jr., assistant secretary for real estate in the Department of General Services.

Cassard said General Services Secretary Eugene R. Lynch talked by phone yesterday with representatives of GPU Inc., which is selling the lake and its hydroelectric dam, and will hold face-to-face talks with company officials Friday.

Edward Shultz, a GPU spokesman, said the talks are making progress.

"Obviously we're working very hard to close this deal. We're not going to let the calendar get in the way of that," Shultz said.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the Morristown, N.J.-based utility announced in early June that the company would give Maryland an exclusive shot at buying the Garrett County tourist attraction. The governor said the state needed to protect the interests of property owners and other users of the 73-year-old man-made lake, which attracts an estimated half-million visitors a year.

At the time, the state and GPU set a target date of today for determining a final price for the 3,800-acre lake and 1,100 acres of buffer land.

Since then, the two sides have had little to say publicly about the negotiations, though this month Glendening indicated that the state and GPU were divided over whether to base the price on the land's development potential.

The governor told the Board of Public Works that paying such a price would be inappropriate because the land for the lake was originally acquired for utility use through the state's condemnation power.

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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